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Doha has been named the most expensive city in the world

In our global survey, Doha-dwellers were most likely to complain about their city’s expense

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

When you think of the most expensive places in the world, a few usual suspects come to mind: Norway, Iceland, Geneva, Singapore… but according to this year’s Time Out Index, the most expensive city in the world is the capital of Qatar: Doha.

This year’s Index saw 20,000 people around the world answer questions about life in their city, covering everything from museums and nightlife to friendliness and safety. One of our questions asked whether they thought their city was expensive – and Doha topped the list, with a frankly astonishing 97 percent of responses from the Qatari capital complaining about its priciness.

So why is Doha so expensive? Well, it depends who you listen to, but some reckon it’s because things like groceries often have to be imported and so they cost much more. But on the flipside, Doha also doesn’t have any personal income tax. So while Doha’s inhabitants might be spending more on a daily basis, they’re keeping much more of their salaries.

Auckland was the second most expensive city in the Index, while Stockholm came third. Of course, the Index isn’t based on things like income or taxes or inflation or anything like that. It’s all about how citizens perceive their home town – which is interesting in different ways to the endless data and numbers of your typical cost-of-living studies.

So which cities were the cheapest? Well, the least expensive city in the world this year (according to local) was Berlin, followed by Glasgow and Athens. In other words, if you’re looking to holiday on the cheap this year, it might be better to head to those places instead – and save Doha for when you’ve got a bit more dough.

Now read our full list of the 53 best cities in the world in 2022

Plus: this South American city has the world’s best nightlife.

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