The most expensive cities in the world to live in

Mercer has published a rating that takes account of the costs of 200 different goods and services for nearly 500 global assignment destinations for expatriate workers.

Cities in Asia take eight of the top ten spots in Mercer’s annual ranking. At the other end of the spectrum are cities in developing or politically unstable countries.

Trends in cost of living: top 10 cities vs bottom 10 cities

The top 10 most expensive cities:

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Tokyo (Japan)
  3. Singapore (Singapore)
  4. Seoul (South Korea)
  5. Zürich (Switzerland)
  6. Shanghai (China)
  7. Ashgabat (Turkmenistan)
  8. Beijing (China)
  9. New York City (United States)
  10. Shenzhen (China)

The top 10 least expensive cities:

  1. Tunis (Tunisia)
  2. Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
  3. Karachi (Pakistan)
  4. Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan)
  5. Banjul (Gambia)
  6. Windhoek (Namibia)
  7. Islamabad (Pakistan)
  8. Tbilisi (Georgia)
  9. Skopje (Macedonia)
  10. Managua (Nicaragua)

Top 5 most expensive cities for international employees in different continents

Cost of living ranking in different continents

Cost of living city ranking

CityCountryRank, 2019Rank, 2018
Hong kongHong Kong (SAR)11
TokyoJapan22
SingaporeSingapore34
SeoulSouth Korea45
ZurichSwitzerland53
ShanghaiChina67
AshgabatTurkmenistan743
BeijingChina89
New york cityUnited States913
ShenzhenChina1012
NdjamenaChad118
BernSwitzerland1210
GenevaSwitzerland1311
VictoriaSeychelles1421
Tel avivIsrael1516
San franciscoUnited States1628
GuangzhouChina1715
Los angelesUnited States1835
OsakaJapan1923
CopenhagenDenmark2014
DubaiUnited Arab Emirates2126
KinshasaDem. Rep. of the Congo2237
LondonUnited Kingdom2319
LibrevilleGabon2418
LagosNigeria2542
LuandaAngola266
MoscowRussia2717
NanjingChina2725
NoumeaNew Caledonia2922
AbidjanCôte d'Ivoire3024
ChengduChina3031
TianjinChina3229
Abu dhabiUnited Arab Emirates3340
NagoyaJapan3341
TaipeiTaiwan3527
RiyadhSaudi Arabia3545
ChicagoUnited States3751
HonoluluUnited States3854
BrazzavilleCongo3919
BangkokThailand4052
QingdaoChina4136
WashingtonUnited States4256
DublinIreland4332
MiamiUnited States4460
MilanItaly4533
ShenyangChina4538
ParisFrance4734
DhakaBangladesh4766
BostonUnited States4970
SydneyAustralia5029
ViennaAustria5139
YaoundeCameroon5243
BeirutLebanon5365
BanguiCentral African Republic5448
RomeItaly5546
White plainsUnited States5679
ManamaBahrain5777
AmsterdamNetherlands5850
DjiboutiDjibouti5973
HoustonUnited States5986
OsloNorway6147
DallasUnited States6285
AccraGhana6363
SeattleUnited States6490
HelsinkiFinland6553
DoualaCameroon6673
MumbaiIndia6755
MunichGermany6757
AtlantaUnited States6995
MontevideoUruguay7075
MorristownUnited States7097
DakarSenegal7262
San juanPuerto Rico7295
FrankfurtGermany7468
St. PetersburgRussia7549
AmmanJordan7594
BrusselsBelgium7767
MinneapolisUnited States78102
MelbourneAustralia7958
SantiagoChile7969
BerlinGermany8171
MadridSpain8264
Port of spainTrinidad & Tobago8397
LuxembourgLuxembourg8471
AbujaNigeria8599
Sao pauloBrazil8658
PerthAustralia8761
ConakryGuinea88106
AucklandNew Zealand8981
DetroitUnited States90116
BarcelonaSpain9179
DusseldorfGermany9282
Panama cityPanama93114
St. LouisUnited States94122
LisbonPortugal9593
CanberraAustralia9677
PragueCzech Republic9783
NairobiKenya97123
PittsburghUnited States97125
HamburgGermany10088
JeddahSaudi Arabia100117
Bandar seri begawanBrunei102106
BrisbaneAustralia10384
MuscatOman103117
JakartaIndonesia105117
ClevelandUnited States106125
PortlandUnited States107130
Phnom penhCambodia108142
AdelaideAustralia10987
ManilaPhilippines109138
RigaLatvia11192
VancouverCanada112109
HanoiVietnam112137
WellingtonNew Zealand114101
TorontoCanada115109
DohaQatar115115
YangonMyanmar11791
New delhiIndia118103
Kuwait cityKuwait119121
Ho chi minh cityVietnam120124
Rio de janeiroBrazil12199
LimaPeru121132
LyonFrance123105
BamakoMali124120
Pointe a pitreGuadeloupe125104
StuttgartGermany126108
StockholmSweden12789
CotonouBenin128111
AthensGreece128112
CasablancaMorocco128128
BratislavaSlovakia131113
San joseCosta Rica131141
Buenos airesArgentina13376
HavanaCuba133165
BirminghamUnited Kingdom135128
Guatemala cityGuatemala136130
AberdeenUnited Kingdom137134
Winston salemUnited States138161
MontrealCanada139147
TallinnEstonia140140
Kuala lumpurMalaysia141145
LjubljanaSlovenia142132
ZagrebCroatia143138
Mexico cityMexico144157
LomeTogo145134
OuagadougouBurkina Faso145134
GlasgowUnited Kingdom145148
QuitoEcuador148156
NiameyNiger149143
KievUkraine150173
NurembergGermany151145
VilniusLithuania152148
CalgaryCanada153154
ChennaiIndia154144
IstanbulTurkey154163
LeipzigGermany156150
KingstonJamaica157164
BelfastUnited Kingdom158152
MaputoMozambique159179
RabatMorocco160165
LimassolCyprus161153
OttawaCanada161160
Port louisMauritius161161
BudapestHungary164151
Port au princeHaiti165125
TiranaAlbania166172
San salvadorEl Salvador166174
CairoEgypt166188
Santo domingoDominican Republic169178
BogotaColombia170168
Dar es salaamTanzania171180
Addis ababaEthiopia171183
WarsawPoland173154
BrasiliaBrazil174158
KigaliRwanda175169
BucharestRomania176176
SofiaBulgaria177175
BakuAzerbaijan178186
BengaluruIndia179170
Cape townSouth Africa180170
BelgradeSerbia181181
ColomboSri Lanka182158
KampalaUganda183192
AlgiersAlgeria184195
JohannesburgSouth Africa185177
AsuncionParaguay186183
MonterreyMexico187193
HarareZimbabwe188165
KolkataIndia189182
GaboroneBotswana189189
AlmatyKazakhstan191187
NouakchottMauritania192194
BlantyreMalawi193204
SarajevoBosnia and Herzegovina194191
La pazBolivia195199
LusakaZambia196185
YerevanArmenia197198
MinskBelarus198202
TegucigalpaHonduras199201
ManaguaNicaragua200200
SkopjeMacedonia201197
TbilisiGeorgia202203
IslamabadPakistan203190
WindhoekNamibia204196
BanjulGambia204206
BishkekKyrgyzstan206207
KarachiPakistan207205
TashkentUzbekistan208209
TunisTunisia209208

Data: Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey

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