Lagos, Nigeria; Tokyo; New York, and Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, are the four most expensive cities in the world, according to a survey by the Union Bank of Switzerland. Geneva and Los Angeles are the two places where a salary goes furthest, according to the bank's annual survey of prices and salaries worldwide.
The United States has become more expensive in the past year because of the high value of the dollar, but salaries have largely kept pace with the increased cost of living, according to the survey.
The survey covers 49 cities, using Zurich as a base of 100. On this reckoning, the Nigerian capital tops the list with 209, followed by Tokyo (185), New York (166) and Abu Dhabi (164). The "points score" is based on the average cost of 119 goods and services, excluding rents.
Manama, Bahrain; Chicago; Houston; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Oslo; Los Angeles; Seoul and Helsinki were the next cities in line in the survey, which the bank pointed out was compiled when the dollar was valued at 2.60 Swiss francs (compared with 2.36 Swiss francs today).
The best value in the "basket" of services and goods came in Lisbon (63 points), Rio de Janeiro (63), Istanbul (60) and Bangkok (57).
The best-paid professional workers are in North America and Switzerland, the survey found, taking 12 professional groups as a basis for its calculations. Again using Zurich as a base of 100, this calculation gave Geneva 103, Toronto 106, Montreal 109, Houston 113, Chicago 129, Los Angeles 136 and New York 142.
At the other extreme, the same 12 professional jobs were paid between 12 and 16 points on the same scale in Jakarta, Manila and Bombay.
Eating out costs most in Tokyo, the survey found. Taking a good steak and vegetables as a base -- and not including drinks -- Tokyo restaurants charge an average of 108 Swiss francs ($45.76 at today's rate). New York is next with an average of 91 Swiss francs ($38.55) and Los Angeles third at 59 Swiss francs ($25).