Cost of Living City Rankings


Tokyo in Japan is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates; Karachi is the cheapest

Most European cities drop in the ranking; Australian and New Zealand cities surge

London drops 7 places to rank 25

Tokyo is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, pushing Luanda, Angola, down to second position, according to Mercer’s latest Cost of Living Survey. Osaka is in third position, up three places from last year, whereas Moscow remains in fourth and Geneva in fifth positions. Singapore and Zurich share sixth place, up two and one places respectively since 2011. Ndjamena, Chad, drops five places, but Hong Kong retains its ninth place.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Ranking 67 and up eight places from last year, Beirut has overtaken Abu Dhabi (76, down nine places from last year). Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (186), continues to rank as the least expensive city in the region.

On the whole, most Middle Eastern cities have dropped in the ranking, mainly because price increases on goods and services have been more moderate here than in our benchmark city, New York. Slight decreases in expatriate accommodation costs were also observed in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

At number four in the global ranking, Moscow remains the most expensive city in Europe for expatriates. Geneva follows in fifth position and Zurich in sixth (up one place from last year). The next European city in the ranking, Bern (14), is up two places from last year, following the strengthening of the Swiss franc against the US dollar.

With a few exceptions, the remaining European cities have all dropped in the rankings, mainly due to a considerable weakening of local currencies, including the euro, against the US dollar. Oslo (18) is down three places from 2011, whereas the next European city on the list, London (25) is down seven places. In 28th position, St. Petersburg is up one place. Paris (37) is down 10 places, whereas Milan (38), Rome (42), Stockholm (46), Vienna (48) and Amsterdam (57) are all down from seven to 13 places. Helsinki (65) and Prague (69) have both slid down the list, 23 and 22 places respectively. Brussels (71) dropped a more moderate nine places, followed by Dublin (72) – down 14 places. Ranking 207, Skopje, Macedonia, is the least expensive city for expatriates in Europe.

Top 5 worldwide
  1. Tokyo, Japan
  2. Luanda, Angola
  3. Osaka, Japan
  4. Moscow, Russia
  5. Geneva, Switzerland

Top 5 cities in the Cost of Living worldwide rankings, by region

Americas Asia Pacific Europe, Middle East & Africa
  • São Paulo, Brazil (12th)
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (13th)
  • Caracas, Venezuela (29th)
  • New York, United States (33rd)
  • Brasilia, Brazil (33rd)
  • Tokyo, Japan (1st)
  • Osaka, Japan (3rd)
  • Singapore, Singapore (6th)
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong (9th)
  • Nagoya, Japan (10th)
  • Luanda, Angola (2nd)
  • Moscow, Russia (4th)
  • Geneva, Switzerland (5th)
  • Zurich, Switzerland (6th)
  • N’Djamena, Chad (8th)


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