The interactive version of this visualization is now updated for 2019.
This is a list of 540 cities, grouped by average monthly apartment cost, from Granada, Spain & Phuket, Thailand (avg. rent $450) to Akron, Ohio & Taipei, Taiwan ($650), to my favorite, Abu Dhabi, UAE & Seattle, WA ($1950).
The reason we didn’t select a map-based chart is because the visuals of a map draw your eye to a location first and then to contrasts in colors. For this dataset, it's interesting to see cities grouped together that you wouldn’t otherwise associate, based on similar rent levels. We were skeptical you could accomplish this with a map, so instead we showed geographic associations by color-coding regions. We also think there are lots of interesting stuff happening in the way the regions are distributed: Asia totally dominates the lower tiers, Europe is incredibly diverse, and South America is surprisingly (or not) clustered together.
Interested in more datasets? Check out our new study on U.S. cities that have done the most to reduce air pollution over the past 15 years, conducted in partnership with Puraka Clean Air Resources, a technology company generating data on air quality and wildfire pollution.