UBS Prices And Earnings 2012: World Cities With The Highest Earnings

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BIG MAC INDEX
It takes nearly twice as long, on average, to earn a Big Mac in Montreal as it does in Toronto, according to a UBS study on prices and earnings in major world cities. (AP photo) | AP

Want to make enough money to buy a Big Mac? You’d likely be far better off doing so in Toronto than in Montreal, according to a new study of prices and wages in major world cities.

The 2012 edition of the Prices and Earnings report from Swiss bank UBS finds it takes — on average — 11 minutes to earn enough money to buy a Big Mac from a McDonald’s restaurant in Toronto. In Montreal, the average worker takes 19 minutes to earn the same Big Mac.

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UBS uses the cost of a Big Mac to illustrate consumers’ purchasing power across 72 major cities around the world. It reflects not just how much people earn in those cities, but also how much they have to shell out to buy food.

Tokyo is the best city in the world to buy a Big Mac, provided you earn local money there; it takes nine minutes, on average, to earn the money needed for one. It takes 84 minutes to earn a Big Mac in Nairobi, Kenya, making it the worst city in the survey to buy a Big Mac.

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New York City comes in slightly better than Toronto (10 minutes) while Montreal’s 19 minutes is comparable to Barcelona (19 minutes) and Brussels (20 minutes).

(The Big Mac index is a commonly used measure of purchasing power because McDonald’s prices tend to reflect affordability in the areas where the restaurants are located.)

In a separate survey, the UBS report found that people in Zurich, Switzerland, earn the most money among the major cities surveyed. Another Swiss city -- Geneva -- came in second.

The highest-ranking U.S. city on the list was New York, in sixth place, followed by Los Angeles at 11th. Toronto and Montreal, the only Canadian cities surveyed, ranked 23rd and 24th respectively.

That represents a significant slide for the two cities. In the 2011 index, Toronto and Montreal came in at 14th and 15th place, respectively.

WORLD CITIES WITH THE HIGHEST EARNINGS

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