Friday, January 19, 2001
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Posted on: Friday, January 19, 2001

Belgrade beats New York for high cost of living in world survey

Bloomberg News

LONDON — Belgrade is 22 percent more expensive to live in than New York and the third-most expensive city in the world behind Tokyo and Osaka, according to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit published yesterday.

The biannual survey compares the prices of 120 goods and services in 10 categories for 133 cities around the world, to help calculate allowances for expatriate executives with partners and two children.

Belgrade, which climbed from 86th place in the last survey to third in this one, has a rating of 122 in the survey. New York is the base line, at 100. Tokyo’s 160 makes it a little more than six times as costly as Tehran and twice as expensive as Cleveland, Ohio, the report found.

"In Belgrade, the lack of availability of goods from the West pushed the index 23 percent higher than you would expect, adjusting for inflation and exchange rate," said Bill Ridgers of the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The products surveyed are branded international goods that would be recognized by an international businessman and include clothing, a sample shopping basket and utilities. The survey doesn’t include accommodation, because that’s usually calculated separately from allowances for expatriate employees.

"You may be going from a mortgaged house in London to a rented flat in New York," Ridgers said. London is ranked eighth, with a rating of 99, on a par with Oslo and Tel Aviv.

Mobile telephones were also excluded from the survey, as terms on offer around the world make suitable comparisons difficult, while public transport costs were left out in favor of petrol pricing and car taxes, Ridgers said.

Paris is in 26th place, down from eighth last time. It ranks with Miami and Washington on a rating of 88, the report said.

Chicago is up seven places, to 13th, on a rating of 96, along with Zurich, which was fifth last year. Vienna and Manchester, England, have dropped to the same level as Pittsburgh and Amman, Jordan, with a rating of 84 and are ranked 35th.

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