Singapore ranked world’s most expensive city for 5th year in a row as ranking on UN happiness index drops


Singapore has been ranked the world’s most expensive city in the latest Worldwide Cost of Living Report for the 5th consecutive time. The report, by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), tied Paris, France and Zurich, Switzerland in second place while Hong Kong and Seoul, South Korea took fourth and sixth place respectively.

Tokyo, Japan was notably absent in the list. Tokyo was the last city to take the top spot in 2013 until Singapore beat it out of the water.

The results by the EIU come as Singapore’s ranking in the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s happiness index has been plummeting, year after year.

This year, the World Happiness Report has ranked Singapore in the 34th place. Singapore was ranked in the 26th place last year and was ranked 22nd spot in 2016. This means that Singapore has dropped 12 notches since 2016.

Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan came in at 26th place, topping Singapore. Malaysia came right after Singapore, at the 35th spot while Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar came in at the 46th, 71st, 95th, 96th and the 130th spots respectively.

The annual UN happiness index ranks 156 territories according to categories like GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption.


  1. wondering does prata minister knows roti prata now cost s$1.20 a piece and mai hum knows mee siam is s$3.50. prices escalated after water price gone up 30%. somemore want to complain public transport fare too low, want to increase gst to 9%. last straw on our back, cannot tahan already

  2. Yes, it is correct, very accurate, the headline said it. Sinkapoor has also the most expensive employed President,, PM, DPMs, Ministars, Snr Mins, Mins of states, Perm secs, etc, etc,( and countless) in the WORLD, but her citizens (the lower ends still struggling picking up rubbish to sell). We know that they pay themselves rocket high salaries, so that they wont get corrupted. It’s a pity and sad. The rich can migrate but the poor got no money to even buy a plane ticket.

  3. Yes, cost of living in Singapore is going up. It is in relative term and subjective as to whether Singapore is the most expensive country. It was mentioned in the summary report that Tel Aviv was moved from 34th to 9th most expensive because of currency appreciation.
    Singapore dollar has also appreciated over the years against various currencies, especially against MYR. When you travel to Malaysia you can really enjoy the buying power of S$, this is good for us. A plate of nasi lemark cost 6-7 MYR (S$2-3), to the Malaysian the price had gone up much, from many years ago when the exchange rate was 1 to 1, to 6-7 MYR. Whereas the price in Singapore has generally gone up to S$3.5 to 4.5 for a plate of nasi lemark (can be more expensive if you eat in restaurant). For us we think cost of living in Malaysia is low because of the exchange rate we enjoy. But to the locals, they may feel otherwise. We enjoy the buying power of S$ but converting it to US$ for comparison of cost of living, we become expensive!
    Comparing to other European countries, are we more expensive than them? If you compare cars and alcohol drinks, yes we are definitely more expensive, everyone knows the reasons. Comparing food and essential staff? I don’t think so! My sense is that it is 2-4 times more expensive in Europe for a typical meal we normally consumed, especially in Switzerland you’ll burn a big hole in your pocket. Of course there are things as cheap as Singapore, but generally more expensive.
    This article also touched on the happiness index, countries which are successful economically generally enjoys higher happiness index, especially the Scandinavian countries which typically occupied the top spots. Why? Their tax rate is very high, what i gathered from internet : Swedes pay between 49 and 60 per cent through a combination of local government and state income tax, average Dane pays a total amount of 45 percent in income taxes, Norway is one of the most heavily taxed countries in the world with a total tax burden of roughly 45% of GDP– almost 4x Hong Kong and nearly twice the US, VAT here is a whopping 25%, personal income tax rates border 55%. The poors are heavily subsidized by the rich…and they are still among the happiest lot because of their welfare system.
    Will Singaporean be happy if the average people are subjected to this kind of high taxes. Not sure but most likely the opposite if high taxes are imposed, we want cheap and good, best to get free then we’ll be flying like a bird…
    Good to note that the economic power house like Japan and S.Korea are in the distance 54th and 57th respectively. Singapore occupying the 34th spot is after all not too bad!
    Some countries are not so successful economically but perform well in the happiness index, probably because of the pace of living? Can we live like them as a small industrialized city state country? We have our geographical limitation and we need to find our niche to live on as happy as possible, in all aspects, economically and mentally! Soldier on, Singaporean!