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Which is the world’s most expensive city? Cost of living survey 2012

Category : Business

Tokyo is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates according to the latest ranking by Mercer. See which other cities make the list
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Tokyo is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates according to the latest research by Mercer, knocking Luanda in Angola off the top spot.

Luanda in Angola, Osaka in Japan, Moscow and Geneva are all within the top five most expensive cities in the latest Cost of Living Survey. Singapore, Zurich, N’Djamena in Chad and Hong Kong also feature highly on the list.

Karachi in Pakistan is ranked as the world’s least expensive city and is less than one-third as expensive as Tokyo. “Currency fluctuations, inflation and volatile accommodation prices” have been stated by Mercer (a global provider of consulting, outsourcing and investment services) as factors of change in rankings after recent economic and political events.

London at 25th, is the UK’s most expensive city although it has fallen seven places from last year. Birmingham (133) has overtaken Aberdeen (144) and Glasgow (161). Belfast (165) remains the UK’s least expensive city in the rankings.

Covering 214 cities across five continent, the survey measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. New York is used as the base city for the index and all cities are compared against New York. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar. The cost of housing – often the biggest expense for expats – plays an important part in determining where cities are ranked.

Nathalie Constantin-Métral, Principal at Mercer commented on the findings:

In North America, most cities have gone up in the ranking, as the US dollar has strengthened against a large proportion of the world’s other currencies. In Asia, more than six in ten cities moved up in the rankings, including all surveyed cities in Australia, China, Japan and New Zealand. Cities in Australia and New Zealand witnessed some of the biggest jumps, as their currencies strengthened significantly against the US dollar.

Here are some key findings from the survey:

• At 4th place Moscow is the most expensive city in Europe for expats, Geneva and Zurich follow in 5th and 6th place respectively
• Many European cities have dropped in the rankings due to a weakening local currency – Oslo (18) dropped three places, Paris (37) is down 10 places and Brussels has fallen nine places.
• Tel Aviv, at 31st position remains the most expensive city in the Middle East, despite a fall of seven places since 2011
• São Paulo (12) and Rio de Janeiro (13) remain the most expensive for expats across both North and South America. Caracas (29) follows closely behind with a considerable advance since last year of 22 places

There’s some great country comparisons below. We have the list of top 50 most expensive cities for expats and the ten least expensive. The downloadable spreadsheet also features the data behind the graphic and details the same categories for other cities on the list.

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