List of most expensive cities for expatriate employees

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These are lists of the world's most expensive cities for expatriate employees (not residents), according to the Mercer,[1] Economist Intelligence Unit[2] and ECA International[3] cost-of-living surveys. Other surveys from online collaborative indices, such as Numbeo,[4] Expatistan[5] or Eardex[6] 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.


Economist Intelligence Unit[edit]

The Economist Intelligence Unit's Worldwide Cost of Living ranking[2] is based on price data that are adjusted for recent exchange-rate movements. 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 (2014)[7]
Rank City Country
1 Singapore[8]  Singapore
2 Paris  France
3 Oslo  Norway
4 Melbourne  Australia
5 Zurich  Switzerland
6 Sydney  Australia
7 Caracas  Venezuela
8 Geneva  Switzerland
9 Tokyo  Japan
10 Copenhagen  Denmark
Bottom ten locations surveyed (2014)[7]
Rank City Country
1 Mumbai  India
2 Karachi  Pakistan
3 New Delhi  India
4 Kathmandu    Nepal
5 Damascus  Syria
6 Algiers  Algeria
7 Bucharest  Romania
8 Panama City  Panama
9 Jeddah  Saudi Arabia
10 Riyadh  Saudi Arabia

Mercer[edit]

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.

Top ten locations surveyed (2013)[9]
Rank City Country Region
1 Luanda  Angola Middle East and Africa
2 Moscow  Russia Europe
3 Tokyo  Japan Asia Pacific
4 N'Djamena  Chad Middle East and Africa
5 Singapore  Singapore Asia Pacific
6 Hong Kong SAR  Hong Kong Asia Pacific
7 Geneva  Switzerland Europe
8 Zurich  Switzerland Europe
9 Bern  Switzerland Europe
Sydney  Australia Asia Pacific

ECA International[edit]

Every March and September, ECA International calculates the cost of living for expatriates in almost 400 cities. 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.

Top 20 cities surveyed (2013)[3]
Ranking City Country
1 Caracas  Venezuela
2 Luanda  Angola
3 Oslo  Norway
4 Juba  South Sudan
5 Stavanger  Norway
6 Zürich  Switzerland
7 Geneva  Switzerland
8 Bern  Switzerland
9 Basel  Switzerland
10 Tokyo  Japan
11 Copenhagen  Denmark
12 Moscow  Russia
13 Brazzaville  Congo
14 Helsinki  Finland
15 Beijing  China
16 Nagoya  Japan
17 Libreville  Gabon
18 Shanghai  China
19 Stockholm  Sweden
20 Yokohama  Japan

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mercer's 2013 Cost of Living Survey City Rankings – Global Overview". Mercer. July 23, 2013. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Worldwide Cost of living index 2014 report". Economist Intelligence Unit. March 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Caracas is now the world's most expensive place for expatriates". ECA International. December 5, 2013. Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Cost of Living Index for 2012". Numbeo. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Expatistan Cost of Living Index". Expatistan. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  6. ^ Eardex. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Staff, CNN (March 4, 2014). "World's most expensive city is...". CNN Travel. Retrieved March 7, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Singapore named the world's most expensive city". BBC News. March 3, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2013 – City Ranking". Mercer. July 23, 2013. Retrieved July 23, 2013.