İstanbul has staged one of the biggest rises in a list compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) comparing the cost of living in 133 cities globally, landing in the 96th spot, two dozen notches higher than its previous position.
Titled “Worldwide Cost of Living,” the survey conducted in March 2020 compares cities according to categories of expenses such as groceries, personal care, clothing, utilities, transport and housing. COVID-relevant items have also been added for the 2020 survey, such as sanitizer, face masks and common flu medicines.
Information from a data pool of 50,000 individual prices, which are compared in US dollars using exchange rates at the time of the survey, is used to produce an index.
Due to the conversion of prices from the local currency to US dollars, the cost of living in Istanbul seemed to fall sharply in 2018 after a currency crisis, taking the city to 120th place down from 44th, according to the 2019 EIU report.
However, the report did not consider how expensive the city was based on the purchasing power of the individuals living there.
“The cost of living in Istanbul, for example, might seem to have decreased, but since household expenses have increased, this has no positive reflection on the daily lives of Istanbulites,” Güneş Cansız, director of the World Resources Institute (WRI) think tank, was quoted as saying by the Hürriyet daily at the time of the 2019 report.
Istanbul becoming more expensive in US dollars despite its currency’s steep fall against the USD is remarkable as it might point to an unprecedented rate of inflation in the country that even overshadows the fall of the lira.
According to the survey Zurich, Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tel Aviv, Osaka, Geneva, New York City, Copenhagen and Los Angeles are the top 10 most expensive cities.
Sydney is ranked 15th, London is 20th and Nairobi 77th.
Moscow is number 106 and Delhi is number 121.
Tehran, which saw the biggest rise, has climbed the ladder from 106th to 79th.
Damascus is the city with the lowest cost of living, followed by Tashkent, Lusaka, Caracas and Almaty.