The Best-Paid Cities in the World

How much you make often depends on where you live.
How much you make often depends on where you live.

Many individuals prefer to live in cities that provide affordable goods and services as well as a high minimum wage. In ranking these cities, the Swiss bank UBS compiles about 68,000 data sets on the highest and lowest gross wages from different cities. The cities are then ranked with scores ranging from a low of 6.3 to a high of 141. The mean ranking is 100.

According to the most recent data in 2015, the cities of Zurich and Geneva in Switzerland have the highest gross wages for workers but also have a high cost of living. Alternatively, cities such as Copenhagen, Chicago, and Sydney are cheaper to live in and residents still earn high wages.

According to various studies which look at the costs of goods and services and average earning figures, these are some of the best-paid cities in the world.


Zurich, the global banking center, is the world’s best-paid city. On average, residents earn up to $41 per hour before tax which is 21 times more than a person living in Kiev. Excluding rent, the cost of living in Zurich is 2.8 times lower than the Ukrainian capital. Zurich is the city with the highest paid workers in the world. On average, residents earn $5,876 per month.


Geneva, Switzerland is the second best-paid city in the world. Residents here have a high purchasing power. On the world’s best-paid chart, the gross pay is 130.3 which ranks among the top three cities.


Luxembourg is ranked 106.4 gross on the UBS chart. Luxembourg has the most attractive employment market in the European Union. In January 2015, an unqualified resident adult could earn a monthly gross income of $2,158 for 40 hours of work per week.

New York

New York has the greatest variance in income figures across different levels such as education. An educated department manager could make an average of $120,000 more than a factory worker. New York City is ranked at 100 on the UBS chart, which means it is one of the world's best-paid cities for workers. On average, residents earn $4,304 per month.


The second best-paid city in the US, Miami has many attractive places to visit such as Miami Beach. However, US employees are taking less time off. Miami is ranked 92.7 on the UBS chart of high paying cities of the world.


Copenhagen ranked 92.4 on the chart. Residents living here have access to affordable goods and services and are paid better wages. However, workers in Copenhagen are heavily taxed and have many income deductions of up to 45%. When compared to other cities such as Zurich with only 14% tax, Copenhagen's taxes seem incredibly high.


Sydney, Australia has a gross pay of 89.8 which is behind Los Angeles and Chicago. This ranking is due to high taxes and a high cost of living.


Oslo has the lowest net wage bill among Scandinavian cities due to high social security taxes. Oslo is ranked 87.9 on the UBS chart.

Other best-paid cities in the world include Los Angeles, Montreal, Chicago, Stockholm, and London. Striking a work-life balance in cities such as Jakarta and Kiev is very difficult due to the high cost of living and low pay.


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