When trying to figure out where in the world to live — or visit — it can be helpful to consult a cost of living index like Expatistan. A collection of submitted data by residents and natives, it lists the costs for basic necessities in cities around the world, allowing you to get a good picture of roughly how much it might cost to live there. You can also compare multiple cities around the world (for example, Montreal, where I live, is 17% more expensive to live in than Bogota, Colombia), although the information does not compare the income segregations of these cities, which can have an intense impact on the experience of living there.
Expatistan’s list of cities ranges from most expensive to least expensive to live in. But why are the most expensive cities so expensive? I looked through the top 20 most expensive cities on the list and tried to figure out why a beer in Oslo might cost $16 while one in Kolkata (the lowest city on the list) only costs $1.62. All prices have been converted to US dollars for consistency and understanding.