According to the latest research report by international expat relocation surveyor Mercer, Singapore ranks the top 4th in cost of living but only at a far flung ranking of 26th in quality of living.

Screenshot from Mercer website
Screenshot from Mercer website
Screenshot from Mercer website
Screenshot from Mercer website

From the two rankings, cities with high income gap tend to fare poorly in living standards and very high in cost of living. Taking the top spot is African city Luanda of Angola, it is seeing high inflation due to extreme income gap. Hongkong and Singapore likewise are expensive and fare poorly in quality of living because of growing income gap as well.

Other cities like Geneva and Zurich may be in the top 10 of the most expensive cities, but they are also in the top 10 in quality of living in the world.

Singapore’s cost of living is largely burdened by unaffordable property prices, rising public transport fares and high commercial rentals. The cost of living problem is further compounded by the high income gap, and the poor, retirees and unemployed feel greater heat as they relatively pay more taxes in the form of GST than the middle income and rich.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has recently reiterated that Singapore will not go the way of the Scandinavian countries. There will be no work-life balance and no pro-family policies unless GST is raised to 20%.

Related stories:
Lee Hsien Loong: Singaporeans choose not to have work-life balance. We are not like that.