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Old 05-24-2007, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,231 posts, read 3,446,074 times
Reputation: 396

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p.s. ---- New York would be number one no matter HOW you adjust the list!

I'm a bit surprised that San Francisco isn't number 2 and that Santa Barbara, with the most expensive "suburb" in the nation (Montecito) isn't included, but maybe it's too small to make the list. Otherwise Aspen or Stamford might make it to the top.

OK, I'm done.
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Old 05-25-2007, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
832 posts, read 3,556,363 times
Reputation: 210
The survey seems bogus. Houston is the least expensive major city in the US. We are 87% of the national average.
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Old 05-29-2007, 08:30 AM
 
Location: In God
3,073 posts, read 10,766,900 times
Reputation: 510
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHarvester View Post
I'm really confused by this thread. It's an interesting list but it seems to cherry-pick stats.

mpope, when you implied above that "cost of living" and "expensive" are not equated in the minds of most, I think you discovered the reason there's a debate going on here. The opening post, if you can edit it, would be helped greatly by adding some clarification as to what that list is measuring.

As a science geek who is currently studying the philosophy of science and epistemology, I can tell you with confidence that there's nothing "factual" about the list other than the fact that it's self-referentially accurate. In other words, if I decide how to measure something and then measure it that way, I have just generated "facts" but they are meaningless to others until I provide the context and intentions of my recipe.

I'd have not entered the discussion had I not seen Houston on there but not Seattle and other places that people have already mentioned in this thread.

If it's a list of "affordability" then that's how it should be labeled --- cost of living relative to income. But that doesn't tell us much either because "affordability" omits factors such as the proportion of the population that is retired, housing value appreciation, immigrant population, etc. A city is only expensive relative to other cities based on average prices or relative to what an individual earns, demands in the way of amenities, and anticipates in future from appreciation, investments and opportunities to advance in their career and income goals. And there are so many other factors!

But I love lists so I'm happy you posted it, I'd just like to see more context provided.
Harvester, I've posted both a link and a list of the criteria they used.
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Old 05-29-2007, 09:44 AM
 
185 posts, read 900,624 times
Reputation: 41
morristown might be worth it. it's listed there cause there's alot of houses there that most of us would consider mansons. the public school system is awesome because there's so many tax dollars going to it and the wealthy are sending their kids to private schools so very small class sizes for those kids that are there.
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Old 05-30-2007, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,231 posts, read 3,446,074 times
Reputation: 396
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpope409 View Post
Harvester, I've posted both a link and a list of the criteria they used.
The link you provided shows that the list is completely irrelevant to most of us. From the link itself, a direct quote:
"Various factors enter into a city's cost-of-living for expatriate employees, such as monetary value, consumer confidence, investment, interest rates, exchange rates of the country's currency, housing costs, among others. This list does not account for cost-of-living savings accrued to local citizens through government-subsidized housing, health care, and education, differences in taxation, and many other factors irrelevant to expatriates. Cost of living may be much higher for expatriates than for local residents in a developing country, especially if expatriates expect a standard of living similar to a developed country."

It doesn't measure what you claim it measures. No wonder we're all confused by it.
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Old 05-30-2007, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Washington D.C. By way of Texas
18,636 posts, read 27,047,623 times
Reputation: 9577
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alanboy395 View Post
houston more expensive than washington dc? c'mon now.
Exactly. I am LMAO at the thought of that. No way DC should not be outside the top 5 in this list. Chicago is a bargain compared to DC as well.
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Old 05-30-2007, 05:42 PM
 
Location: In God
3,073 posts, read 10,766,900 times
Reputation: 510
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHarvester View Post
The link you provided shows that the list is completely irrelevant to most of us. From the link itself, a direct quote:
"Various factors enter into a city's cost-of-living for expatriate employees, such as monetary value, consumer confidence, investment, interest rates, exchange rates of the country's currency, housing costs, among others. This list does not account for cost-of-living savings accrued to local citizens through government-subsidized housing, health care, and education, differences in taxation, and many other factors irrelevant to expatriates. Cost of living may be much higher for expatriates than for local residents in a developing country, especially if expatriates expect a standard of living similar to a developed country."

It doesn't measure what you claim it measures. No wonder we're all confused by it.
I never claimed it measured anything it didn't. On page 1, I posted it practically word for word what the survey measured. You're putting words in my mouth. Don't do that, please.
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Old 05-30-2007, 06:19 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,231 posts, read 3,446,074 times
Reputation: 396
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpope409 View Post
I never claimed it measured anything it didn't.
OK, I apologize. It would have been more accurate and fair for me to say that it was implied via lack of information that the Mercer index pertains to expatriots, not to Americans. Given that almost all of us are American citizens, we tend to think from that perspective and this wasn't made clear.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpope409 View Post
On page 1, I posted it practically word for word what the survey measured. You're putting words in my mouth. Don't do that, please.
OK, I'll put YOUR words in your mouth:

"According to the survey, this list is based on the factors of monetary value, consumer confidence, investment, interest rates, exchange rates of the country's currency, housing costs, and others."

I don't want to make this a personal issue with you, I'm only suggesting that a simple edit to the opening post would clarify the bizarre findings of the survey. It's a list that uses criteria that don't apply to 99% of the membership of this forum, yet we've been debating the list for pages because the list isn't apropos to this particular group. If you were posting it on a website that catered to foreigners who were planning to come to the USA for work, then perhaps it would be more relevant.

Again, I apologize for any personal confrontation, I don't intend my comments in that way at all. I'm only trying to clarify the nature of the list that was originally posted. Even your list of criteria, as posted on page 1, neglects to emphasize that the cost index is heavily skewed towards specific criteria used by one consulting firm for a purpose that isn't relevant to the general topic of "most expensive cities" as far as the rest of us are concerned. It's OK, you didn't do anything wrong, I'm not accusing you of anything and I hope you can accept this without feeling like I'm attacking you. I'm not. I'm attacking the thread title and the list for being largely irrelevant to Americans.
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:22 PM
 
Location: In God
3,073 posts, read 10,766,900 times
Reputation: 510
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHarvester View Post
OK, I apologize. It would have been more accurate and fair for me to say that it was implied via lack of information that the Mercer index pertains to expatriots, not to Americans. Given that almost all of us are American citizens, we tend to think from that perspective and this wasn't made clear.

OK, I'll put YOUR words in your mouth:

"According to the survey, this list is based on the factors of monetary value, consumer confidence, investment, interest rates, exchange rates of the country's currency, housing costs, and others."

I don't want to make this a personal issue with you, I'm only suggesting that a simple edit to the opening post would clarify the bizarre findings of the survey. It's a list that uses criteria that don't apply to 99% of the membership of this forum, yet we've been debating the list for pages because the list isn't apropos to this particular group. If you were posting it on a website that catered to foreigners who were planning to come to the USA for work, then perhaps it would be more relevant.

Again, I apologize for any personal confrontation, I don't intend my comments in that way at all. I'm only trying to clarify the nature of the list that was originally posted. Even your list of criteria, as posted on page 1, neglects to emphasize that the cost index is heavily skewed towards specific criteria used by one consulting firm for a purpose that isn't relevant to the general topic of "most expensive cities" as far as the rest of us are concerned. It's OK, you didn't do anything wrong, I'm not accusing you of anything and I hope you can accept this without feeling like I'm attacking you. I'm not. I'm attacking the thread title and the list for being largely irrelevant to Americans.
Well since I didn't say who the list was directed to (there are indeed many expatriates who use this website), I would expect everyone not to assume who the thread is talking about. But when looking this information up on Wikipedia, it comes under the heading: List of most expensive cities. So maybe you should let them know everything you just told me because it's neither here nor there over this way. By the way, this isn't directed to you exclusively, Harvester.
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Old 05-30-2007, 08:02 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,231 posts, read 3,446,074 times
Reputation: 396
Default It seems we're merely human

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpope409 View Post
...when looking this information up on Wikipedia, it comes under the heading: List of most expensive cities.
I think that's the issue, really. Whoever has had the latest access and influence at Wiki has inserted that particular index as the basis for measurement.

I love Wikipedia for the same reasons I hate it: it's self-organizing. I love the concept of websites that create themselves through the input of members and Wiki is a great example of this. On the other hand, sometimes it's useful to have "authoritarian" reference points (top-down as opposed to self-organized bottom-up systems). In this case, I don't know what source I'd consult. Barrons? Money Magazine? Bureau of Labor Statistics? Places Rated Almanac? Tarot cards?

Bah. I have no idea, they'd all be skewed to different measures. I tend to favor whichever index most closely matches my subjective experience and impressions, as apparently we all do in this thread. Hence, people are objecting to a list that doesn't match what they would expect. But reality is often not quite what we perceive it to be, so I have no basis (yet) for saying that the Mercer index is inferior to any others.

If I find an alternative index then I'll post it to see how it compares.

Thanks, Popester, for being patient with my criticisms. You've been a great sport with your responses and I think it will ultimately be helpful to others if we can flesh out the meaning of "expensive" with respect to comparing cities.
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