List of most expensive cities for expatriate employees

List of most expensive cities for expatriate employees

These are lists of the world's most expensive cities, according to the Mercer Human Resource Consulting,[1] Economist Intelligence Unit[2] and ECA International[3] cost-of-living surveys. Other surveys from online collaborative indices, such as Numbeo[4] or Expatistan[5] are not covered by this article.

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, and housing costs. 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.




Mercer's Cost of Living surveys are taken in March of each year.

The survey covers 214 cities around the world and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. It is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees. New York is used as the base city and all other cities are compared against New York. The cost of housing plays an important part in determining where cities are ranked.

Two main factors determine a city’s ranking in Mercer’s survey - the relative strength of the relevant currency against the US dollar over the prior 12 months and price movements over the prior 12 months compared to those in New York City as the base.

Mvmt City Country Region
1 1 Disc Plain yellow dark.svg Luanda  Angola Middle East and Africa
2 2 Disc Plain yellow dark.svg Tokyo  Japan Asia Pacific
3 3 Disc Plain yellow dark.svg N'Djamena  Chad Middle East and Africa
4 4 Disc Plain yellow dark.svg Moscow  Russia Europe
5 5 Disc Plain yellow dark.svg Geneva  Switzerland Europe
6 6 Disc Plain yellow dark.svg Osaka  Japan Asia Pacific
7 8 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +1 Zurich  Switzerland Europe
8 11 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +3 Singapore  Singapore Asia Pacific
9 8 RedDownArrow.svg −1 Hong Kong  China Asia Pacific
10 21 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +11 São Paulo  Brazil Americas
11 19 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +8 Nagoya  Japan Asia Pacific
12= 7 RedDownArrow.svg −5 Libreville  Gabon Middle East and Africa
12= 29 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +17 Rio de Janeiro  Brazil Americas
14 24 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +10 Sydney  Australia Asia Pacific
15 11 RedDownArrow.svg −4 Oslo  Norway Europe
16 22 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +6 Bern  Switzerland Europe
17 10 RedDownArrow.svg −7 Copenhagen  Denmark Europe
18 17 RedDownArrow.svg −1 London  United Kingdom Europe
19 14 RedDownArrow.svg −5 Seoul  South Korea Asia Pacific
20 16 RedDownArrow.svg −4 Beijing  China Asia Pacific
21= 25 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +4 Shanghai  China Asia Pacific
21= 33 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +12 Melbourne  Australia Asia Pacific
23 23 Disc Plain yellow dark.svg Niamey  Niger Middle East and Africa
24 19 RedDownArrow.svg −5 Tel Aviv  Israel Middle East and Africa
25 13 RedDownArrow.svg −12 Victoria  Seychelles Middle East and Africa
25 15 RedDownArrow.svg −10 Milan  Italy Europe
27 17 RedDownArrow.svg −10 Paris  France Europe
28 67 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +39 Ougadougou  Burkina Faso Middle East and Africa
29 30 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +1 St. Petersburg  Russia Europe
30 60 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +30 Perth  Australia Asia Pacific
31 55 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +24 Brisbane  Australia Asia Pacific
32 27 RedDownArrow.svg −5 New York City  United States Americas
33 70 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +37 Brasilia  Brazil Americas
34 26 RedDownArrow.svg −8 Rome  Italy Europe
34 74 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +40 Canberra  Australia Asia Pacific
36 28 RedDownArrow.svg −8 Vienna  Austria Europe
37 38 RedDownArrow.svg −1 Nouméa  New Caledonia Asia Pacific
38 38 Disc Plain yellow dark.svg Guangzhou  China Asia Pacific
39 76 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +37 Stockholm  Sweden Europe
39 62 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +23 Djibouti  Djibouti Middle East and Africa
41 62 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +21 Lagos  Nigeria Middle East and Africa
42 31 RedDownArrow.svg −9 Helsinki  Finland Europe
43 42 RedDownArrow.svg −1 Shenzhen  China Asia Pacific
44 32 RedDownArrow.svg −12 Dakar  Senegal Middle East and Africa
44 141 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +97 Khartoum  Sudan Middle East and Africa
46 90 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +44 Adelaide  Australia Asia Pacific
47 47 Disc Plain yellow dark.svg Prague  Czech Republic Europe
48 36 RedDownArrow.svg −12 Baku  Azerbaijan Asia Pacific
49 33 RedDownArrow.svg −16 Bangui  Central African Republic Middle East and Africa
50 35 RedDownArrow.svg −15 Amsterdam  Netherlands Europe
51 100 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +49 Caracas  Venezuela Americas
52 N/A N/A Taipei  Republic of China Asia Pacific
59 76 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +17 Toronto  Canada Americas
65 N/A N/A Vancouver  Canada Americas
67 84 RedDownArrow.svg −17 Abu Dhabi  United Arab Emirates Middle East and Africa
69 N/A N/A Jakarta  Indonesia Asia Pacific
77 55 RedDownArrow.svg −22 Los Angeles  United States Americas
79 N/A N/A Montreal  Canada Americas
81 55 RedDownArrow.svg −26 Dubai  United Arab Emirates Middle East and Africa
85 N/A N/A New Delhi  India Asia Pacific
88 N/A N/A Bangkok  Thailand Asia Pacific
95 N/A N/A Mumbai  India Asia Pacific
96 N/A N/A Calgary  Canada Americas
103 83 RedDownArrow.svg −20 Amman  Jordan Middle East and Africa
104 N/A N/A Kuala Lumpur  Malaysia Asia Pacific
108 91 RedDownArrow.svg −17 Chicago  United States Americas
108 111 RedDownArrow.svg +3 Washington  United States Americas
114 N/A N/A Ottawa  Canada Americas
131 151 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +20 Johannesburg  South Africa Middle East and Africa
136 N/A N/A Hanoi  Vietnam Asia Pacific
144 N/A N/A Aberdeen  United Kingdom Europe
148 N/A N/A Glasgow  United Kingdom Europe
150 N/A N/A Birmingham  United Kingdom Europe
158 171 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +13 Cape Town  South Africa Middle East and Africa
178 N/A N/A Belfast  United Kingdom Europe
180 N/A N/A Bangalore  India Asia Pacific
186 N/A N/A Portland  United States Americas
197 N/A N/A Winston-Salem  United States Americas
207 N/A N/A Tunis  Tunisia Middle East and Africa
211 N/A N/A Addis Ababa  Ethiopia Middle East and Africa
212 N/A N/A La Paz  Bolivia Americas
213 N/A N/A Managua  Nicaragua Americas
214 N/A N/A Karachi  Pakistan Asia Pacific

Economist Intelligence Unit

The Economist Intelligence Unit's Worldwide Cost of Living ranking is based on price data that are adjusted for recent exchange-rate movements.[6] The price of housing, generally the largest cost of living, is not included as this tends to be provided by the company and does not factor in adjusting the salary of the expatriate employee.

Top ten locations surveyed (2011)
Mvmt City Country
1 1 Disc Plain yellow dark.svg Tokyo  Japan
2 2 Disc Plain yellow dark.svg Oslo  Norway
3 4 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +1 Osaka  Japan
4 3 RedDownArrow.svg −1 Paris  France
5 7 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +2 Zurich  Switzerland
6 8 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +2 Sydney  Australia
7 9 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +2 Melbourne  Australia
8 5 RedDownArrow.svg −3 Frankfurt  Germany
9 12 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +3 Geneva  Switzerland
10 11 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +1 Singapore  Singapore
Bottom ten locations surveyed (2011)
Mvmt City Country
124 123 RedDownArrow.svg −1 Dhaka  Bangladesh
124 128 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +4 Manila  Philippines
126 125 RedDownArrow.svg −1 Panama City  Panama
126 127 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +1 Algiers  Algeria
128 124 RedDownArrow.svg −4 Jeddah  Saudi Arabia
129 129 Disc Plain yellow dark.svg New Delhi  India
130 132 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +2 Tehran  Iran
131 132 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +1 Mumbai  India
132 129 RedDownArrow.svg −3 Tunis  Tunisia
133 134 Green-Up-Arrow.svg +1 Karachi  Pakistan

ECA International

The top 20[7] most expensive cities for expatriates according to surveys of almost 400 cities released in March 2010 and 2009[8] by ECA International. Surveys are done every March and September. The survey does not include certain living costs such as accommodation, utilities (electricity, gas, water costs), car purchase and school fees. These are usually compensated for separately in expatriate packages from cost of living allowances.

2010 City 2009
1 Japan Tokyo, Japan 1
2 Norway Oslo, Norway 4
3 Angola Luanda, Angola 6
4 Japan Nagoya, Japan 7
5 Japan Yokohama, Japan 2
6 Norway Stavanger, Norway 4
7 Japan Kobe, Japan 3
8 Denmark Copenhagen, Denmark 8
9 Switzerland Geneva, Switzerland 9
10 Switzerland Zürich, Switzerland 10
11 Switzerland Bern, Switzerland 13
12 Switzerland Basel, Switzerland 11
13 Gabon Libreville, Gabon 12
14 Finland Helsinki, Finland 15
15 Russia Moscow, Russia 29
16 France Paris, France 16
17 Côte d'Ivoire Abidjan, Ivory Coast 17
18 Nigeria Abuja, Nigeria 19
19 Israel Tel Aviv, Israel 24
20 South Korea Seoul, Korea Republic 102

See also



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