Minneapolis is North America’s 3rd most expensive city, says The Economist

Minneapolis: Come for the weather, stay for the high cost of a pack of Camels.

Minneapolis: Come for the weather, stay for the high cost of a pack of Camels. Tony Webster

Few would discount the notion that the cost of living in Minneapolis is rising to unpleasant levels. At the same time, few would argue that we have it worse than San Francisco, D.C., Seattle, Chicago, or Boston.

But oh we do. At least according to The Economist, perhaps the leading economics magazine of the English-speaking world.

The Economist just released its annual Worldwide Cost of Living report, which ranks the world’s cities based on their unbearable expense. The magazine factors in housing and transportation costs, utilities, food, clothing, and more than 400 prices on everyday products and services, from a loaf of bread to a pack of cigs. And since The Economist tends to cater to the well-to-do, it even includes the cost of private schools and domestic help.

No American city made the world’s Top 10, largely due to a weak dollar. New York naturally finished first among North American burgs, followed by Los Angeles. But tucked in third place – ahead of all those towns known for their punishing costs – was little old Minneapolis, which is also ranked the 26th most expensive city in the world.

The report doesn’t break down what led to Minneapolis’ inexplicable ranking. But as tends to be the case in such matters, it’s usually not so much breathtaking costs in a few areas – i.e. prices for a condo or a bottle of wine – but consistently high costs across the board.

The world’s five most expensive cities are Singapore, Paris, Zurich, Hong Kong, and Oslo, respectively.

The cheapest? Damascus. If you’re willing to overlook sectarian warfare, regular bombing, and the occasional chemical weapon, there are apparently good deals to be had.