The Cost of Living Elsewhere

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GENEVA: Who would have thought the rent in Ouagadougou would be higher than in Washington, D.C.? Or that when it comes to grocery shopping, Beirut beats out Boston? These and other quirks of international finance are revealed in a study published Monday by the Swiss-based Corporate Resources Group, which ranks cities in 172 countries around the world according to how costly they are for foreign workers. New York is the baseline, with a 100-point ranking; if you live in Hong Kong (157), Tokyo (154), Beijing (153) or Moscow (151), ask your boss for a raise. Better still, relocate to one of the cities at the bottom of the list: Johannesburg, Kinshasa and Harare all look like good bets.

Interestingly enough, the Asian currency crisis doesn't appear to have had much impact, at least as far as goods and services go: The region still has seven of the top 10 most expensive cities in the world. The reason? Most of said cities are in China and Japan, where recession has yet to bite into local economies. Oh, and New Yorkers can rest easy knowing that despite their rocketing rents, it would be just as costly to live in Geneva, Zurich, Tel Aviv and Buenos Aires. But surely it doesn't cost as much to tip a taxi driver in Argentina.