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HOW YA GOIN

These are the most affordable cities to live in as a young person this year

Thu-Huong Ha
By Thu-Huong Ha

Reporter

Auf Wiedersehen, Berlin. À bientôt, Paris. Young and mobile people of the world, say g’day to Sydney.

Sydney is this year’s most affordable city to live in, according to a new report from YouthfulCities. The Toronto-based startup’s 2015 report ranks 55 of the world’s largest cities on how affordable they are for people 15 to 29 years old.

Last year’s index put Paris at the top, which may have seemed a baffling choice if not for the city’s relatively high minimum wage, which tops $12.50 an hour, helping residents afford the city’s higher-than-average expenses.

This year, with an expanded scope of 55 cities from last year’s 25, Sydney has shot to the top.

Since YouthfulCities expanded its ranking, London, with a minimum wage listed at $7.85, and US cities like Dallas ($7.25), Chicago ($8.25), and New York ($8.75) have dropped from the 10 cities with the highest minimum wages, beat out by the likes of Sydney ($16.28), San Francisco ($11.05), and Montreal ($10.05). Paris still figures strongly into the ranking on this front, with a minimum wage of $12.52. (For cities without a legislated minimum, the ranking relies on typical wages for an entry-level job, for example at a fast-food restaurant.)

Detroit ($8.15) doesn’t figure into the top 10 by wages, but relatively low living expenses put the city at No. 3 on the overall ranking.

Of the places YouthfulCities considered this year, those with the lowest minimum wages are Dar Es Salaam (26 cents) and Accra (37 cents).

The index considers minimum wage in relation to various expenses, for things like rent and movie tickets. In Sydney, for example, it takes 14.4 minutes of working at minimum wage to buy a tube of toothpaste. In Osaka, it’s 18 minutes.

Here are the 55 cities ranked by overall affordability:

RankingCity
1Sydney
2Montreal
3Detroit
4San Francisco
5Berlin
6Tokyo
7Boston
8Osaka
9Paris
10Los Angeles
11Washington DC
12Dallas
13Toronto
14Miami
15Vancouver
16Chicago
17New York City
18Tel Aviv
19Tehran
20Seoul
21Amsterdam
22Madrid
23London
24Quito
25Rome
26Hong Kong
27Dubai
28Shanghai
29Lima
30Singapore
31Cairo
32Jakarta
33Warsaw
34Buenos Aires
35Casablanca
36Bangkok
37Manila
38Istanbul
39New Delhi
40Santiago
41Bogotá
42Durban
43Karachi
44Nairobi
45Johannesburg
46São Paulo
47Rio de Janeiro
48Moscow
49Lagos
50Beirut
51Mexico City
52Mumbai
53Dar Es Salaam
54Accra
55Caracas

One word of caution to young people suddenly considering a move to Australia: Rent in Sydney may be cheap, but you’ll probably want to look elsewhere when you’re ready for a mortgage.

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