Lisbon is being heralded as the next big thing, frequently referred to as “the new Berlin.” But how well is this underdog really doing?
UBS carried out a study, “Cost of Living in Cities Around the World,” of 77 cities between January and April 2018. They looked at the prices of 128 goods and services and the earnings of 15 different professions. The study used New York City as the benchmark for the index. Go figure.
UBS found that Lisbon ranks 42 out of the 77 cities when it comes to the prices of goods and services in general. So, that’s good news for that wave of Brooklynites that have been making their way to the city. This general figure is a little skewed, however, by the cost of things such as home electronics, which are 38.3% more in Lisbon than NYC — making LX the sixth most expensive city studied.
Dublin and Lisbon have been in a bit of a battle as of late, both hailed as tech hubs in Europe, with Lisbon taking over hosting the Web Summit in 2016. But, Dublin is considerably more expensive, with costs just 13.4% lower than the benchmark.
The Portuguese capital is still cheaper than Berlin, which is 9.8% higher. That is general, however — when it comes to housing, Lisbon is more expensive, which came in at 38, compared to the German capital at 39. Dublin is way up there at number 11, the fifth most expensive place for housing in Western Europe.
So, housing is outstripping Berlin. That means wages should be, too, right? No. As we are all aware, the earnings in Lisbon are still much lower. In fact, the average earnings in Lisbon are just 32.1% of those in NYC, compared with Berlin, which earns on average 77.3%. That means that people earn more than twice as much in Berlin as they do in Lisbon, but with cheaper housing. In fact, when it comes to earnings, Berlin even outdoes Dublin, which earns 76.9% of NYC.
However, in Berlin, food is about 10% more expensive, public transport is nearly 50% more, and services, in general, are about 15% more. So Lisbon has that going for it. In Dublin, food is about 16% more expensive than Lisbon, public transport is 22.4% more, and services, in general, are about 17% more.
These things considered, it will come as no surprise that the purchasing power of Lisbon, 44.5%, is less than half that of Berlin — 91.6% — and 44.2% less than Dublin.
This disparity is clearest when UBS reveals how long it takes for people in each city to earn enough for an iPhone X. In Lisbon, an average worker would have to work 223.2 hours to afford one, compared to just 89.2 hours in Berlin and 87.7 hours in Dublin. That means you would have to work more than five and a half days more in Lisbon than Dublin in order to buy the latest Apple phone.
On the plus side, Lisbon is beaten only by Lagos for the cheapest coffee on the list. So, at least while we talk on our knock-off phones, despairing over high housing prices and low wages, we can do it in style with a cup of Delta.