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- Is it better to live in Hong Kong or Singapore?
- Is the cost of living lower in Hong Kong or Singapore?
- Is the earning potential better in Hong Kong or Singapore?
- Is education better in Hong Kong or Singapore?
- Is Hong Kong more polluted than Singapore?
- Is the crime rate lower in Hong Kong or Singapore?
- Is the quality of transportation better in Hong Kong or Singapore?
- Is healthcare better in Hong Kong or Singapore?
Being two of the Four Asian Tigers, Hong Kong and Singapore have long been compared. Due to their similarities, many ask the question “is it better to live in Hong Kong or Singapore?”
Although they’re similar, there are distinctions between the two cities that would affect which one is better to inhabit or migrate to. Continue reading to know if it’s better for you to live in Hong Kong or Singapore, and why.
Is it better to live in Hong Kong or Singapore?
All things considered, Singapore may be a better place to live for most people compared to Hong Kong. This is because Singapore has 20.2% lower consumer prices, USD 10,000 higher average salary, and lower levels of pollution when compared to Hong Kong.
However, this does not mean that Hong Kong lags significantly behind Singapore. Both places are tied when it comes to having low crime rates and high-quality education and healthcare.
|Category for Comparison||Winner: Singapore vs. Hong Kong|
|Cost of Living||Singapore|
|Work and Earning Potential||Singapore|
|Environment and Pollution||Singapore|
|Safety (Measured against Crime Rate)||Tied|
Let’s talk about these comparisons in more detail.
Is the cost of living lower in Hong Kong or Singapore?
Hong Kong and Singapore are expensive places to live in, but the cost of living in Singapore is lower compared to Hong Kong. Many studies show that prices in Singapore are lower, especially when it comes to housing.
According to ECA International, Hong Kong is the second most expensive city to live in as of December 2022, just under New York. In fact, one of the primary reasons that Hong Kongers are leaving Hong Kong is because of its high cost of living.
One of the main causes of this is Hong Kong’s current housing crisis, which forces locals and expatriates alike to pay astronomical prices for ridiculously small apartments.
In the same list, Singapore ranks 8th as it rose four places recently due to inflation and rising prices of necessities and rent.
ECA International also places Hong Kong at the top of its list when it comes to the most expensive Asian locations for expatriates, with Singapore just under it.
An article published 3 years ago by the Singapore Business Review shows that Hong Kong has always had higher prices when compared to Singapore. Here is a comparison of the prices of commodities between the two cities:
|Item||Price in Hong Kong (USD)||Price in Singapore (USD)|
|A cup of coffee||$ 7.00||$ 5.00|
|A litre of gasoline||2.00||1.60|
|Average prices of housing per square foot||2,091.00||1,036.00|
However, according to the Economic Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey, Singapore is the most expensive city to live in the world, tied with New York.
The disparity between the ECA and the EIU results from a difference in methodology. The ECA looks at everyday expenses such as rent and public transit, while the EIU gathers price data and checks how much they have fluctuated over the years.
With this in mind, the cost of living in Hong Kong is still higher… but both the SAR and Singapore are highly expensive places to live in.
Is the earning potential better in Hong Kong or Singapore?
Singapore offers better earning potential compared to Hong Kong, as the average gross salary is USD 10,000 higher than in Hong Kong. However, you might find better opportunities in Hong Kong if you work in the field of technology and finance.
|Strictness when hiring foreigners||High||High|
|Priorities||Professionals with high expertise in technology and finance||Professionals for senior business roles|
|Job market competition||High||High|
|Average gross wage/salary||USD 30,000 annually||USD 40,000 annually|
As both Hong Kong and Singapore are international hubs, both of them are generally welcoming towards foreigners working and investing in their regions. However, this welcome comes with caveats.
According to Internations, Hong Kong and Singapore are strict when it comes to hiring expatriates. In Hong Kong, foreigners would have to get a confirmed job offer and apply for a work visa sponsored by the employer.
These visas usually favour specific people, such as those with impressive backgrounds or expertise in finance and technological fields.
Things are no different in Singapore, where job offers must first be posted on national portals for two weeks before opening up to expatriates.
However, Singapore has a slight edge when it comes to earning potential because of higher wages combined with a lower cost of living.
Internations says that you would have to earn at least double or triple the average monthly salary in Hong Kong just to live comfortably. As such, many would not find the situation worth working in Hong Kong.
Is education better in Hong Kong or Singapore?
Based on rankings in Asia, Hong Kong and Singapore are arguably tied when it comes to education quality. However, the price of studying in Singapore may be higher, especially in its international schools.
In the Times Higher Education’s 2022 Asia University Rankings, five universities from Hong Kong are in the top 25, with 3 being in the top 10. Singapore only has two entries in the top 25, but both of them are in the top 10.
In addition to Hong Kong having more top schools, the region also has an advantage when it comes to tuition fees.
According to data gathered by the International Schools Database, the yearly fees for studying in Hong Kong could range from around USD 12,000 to USD 15,000.
However, the tuition fees for international schools in Singapore could set you back USD 20,000 to USD 30,000 annually.
Is Hong Kong more polluted than Singapore?
When it comes to pollution, Hong Kong fares worse than Singapore because of higher concentrations of PM 2.5 pollutants in the air.
Despite the region’s lush forests and tall, green mountains, Hong Kong suffers more significantly from air pollution than Singapore. Smog in Hong Kong is fairly common, especially near the cities.
According to data from IQAir, the concentration of PM2.5 pollutants in Hong Kong’s air is 6.1x more than the World Health Organization’s recommended air quality guideline value, while Singapore is only 1.6x above the same standard.
In addition, Hong Kong also ranks 63rd out of 117 on IQair’s list of the world’s most polluted countries and regions. In the same list, Singapore only ranked 74th.
Is the crime rate lower in Hong Kong or Singapore?
Crime rates for both Hong Kong and Singapore are roughly equal, with both being incredibly low. According to Macrotrends, the crime rates for Singapore and Hong Kong were 0.17 and 0.29 in 2020, respectively.
More recent data from January 2023 by Numbeo shows that Hong Kong has a lower crime rate. Regardless of the indices and specifics, Numbeo says that both locations have low enough crime to make residents feel safe walking alone even at night.
The low crime rates in both places stem from strict enforcement of laws, such as gun control legislation where, in general, only police carry firearms in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Is the quality of transportation better in Hong Kong or Singapore?
Hong Kong is better than Singapore when it comes to transportation, especially when it comes to pricing and accessibility.
According to a new study done through the collaboration of the firm Oliver Wyman and the University of California, Berkeley, Hong Kong has the best public transportation system in the world.
The study praises Hong Kong for its affordability, high station density, and great infrastructure.
In the same study, Singapore placed 4th just below Stockholm and Zurich. The study says that one downside of Singapore’s transit is its micromobility, which means that the country has systems that inhibit people from walking or biking.
Despite the slight difference in quality, Hong Kong’s and Singapore’s public transportation costs are the same. According to a Bloomberg article, a 10-kilometre taxi ride costs USD 11.00 in Hong Kong and USD 10.00 in Singapore.
However, you can forget about buying a car in both places because keeping a vehicle in Hong Kong and Singapore is difficult and costly. Registrations, taxes, license fees, and other expenses could easily set you back thousands in US Dollars.
Is healthcare better in Hong Kong or Singapore?
When it comes to healthcare, Hong Kong and Singapore are tied, especially when it comes to quality and pricing. Furthermore, both Hong Kong and Singapore have a public and private healthcare system.
In Hong Kong, permanent and non-permanent residents can enjoy free or near-free public healthcare. However, this usually comes with the disadvantage of joining a long waitlist and the exclusion of dental services unless absolutely necessary.
Nevertheless, the quality of the services and the facilities in public hospitals are excellent and are at par with the most advanced private healthcare institutions.
Hong Kongers can also opt to get their healthcare from private hospitals, but they should be prepared to pay astronomical prices unless they have decent health insurance.
Similarly, Singapore’s healthcare system has high quality and affordable pricing, with the latter primarily because of the country’s Medisave program.
The Medisave program is a forced insurance program that sets aside a portion of each Singapore resident’s wages into a fund that the government uses to keep service and drug prices low.
The healthcare quality in Singapore is also admirable. SIngapore’s health system was recognized worldwide as early as the year 2000, when it ranked 6th in the World Health Organization’s top world health systems.