[Video]London, England (GenevaLunch.com) - Luanda in Angola is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, according to the latest Cost of Living Survey from Mercer. Tokyo is in second position, with Ndjamena in Chad in third place. Moscow is in fourth position followed by Geneva in fifth.
Moscow (4), Geneva (5) and Zurich (8) are the most expensive European cities, followed by Copenhagen (10).
Karachi, Pakistan, is ranked as the world’s least expensive city for expats. The survey found that Luanda is three times as costly as Karachi.
The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. It is the world’s most comprehensive cost of living survey and is used to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowance for their expatriate employees. 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.
For the first time, the ranking of the world’s top 10 most expensive cities includes three African urban centres: Luanda (1) in Angola, Ndjamena (3) in Chad and Libreville (7) in Gabon. The top 10 also includes three Asian cities; Tokyo (2), Osaka (6) and Hong Kong (jointly ranked 8). Moscow (4), Geneva (5) and Zurich (shares number 8 slot) are the most expensive European cities, followed by Copenhagen (10).
According to Nathalie Constantin-Métral, a Senior Researcher at Mercer with responsibility for compiling the ranking each year, “Our cities are selected based on requests from our multinational clients,” she continued, “Notably African cities now figure prominently reflecting the growing economic importance of the region to global companies across all business sectors.”
After Moscow, Geneva, Zurich and Copenhagen, the most expensive cities in Europe are Oslo (11) in Norway, Milan (15) in Italy, London and Paris (both 17) and Bern (22) in Switzerland. Other expensive European cities include Rome (26), Vienna (28), St Petersburg (30) Amsterdam (35), Baku (36) Dublin (42), Istanbul (44), Barcelona (49), Frankfurt (50), Madrid (52) and Lisbon (72). Riga ranks 81 followed by Budapest (94), Warsaw (96) and Tallinn (115).
The least expensive city in Europe is Tirana (200) in Albania, followed by Macedonia’s Skopje (197), Sarajevo (196) in Bosnia Herzegovina, Minsk (192) in Belarus and Belfast (182) in the UK.
Cities in Brazil are amongst the most expensive locations in the Americas with Sao Paulo (21) ranked as the most expensive city in both North and South America, as a result of the strengthening of the Brazilian Real against the US Dollar. In South America, Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro (29) is the second most expensive city followed by Havana (45) in Cuba, Colombia’s Bogota (66) and Brazil’s capital, Brasilia (70). Buenos Aires ranks 161. Nicaragua’s Managua (212), Bolivia’s La Paz (211) and Asuncion (204) in Paraguay were the least expensive cities in South America.
In the United States, New York (27) is the most expensive city followed by Los Angeles (55). Washington ranks 111.
Vancouver (75) is the most expensive Canadian city followed by Toronto (76) and Montreal (98). Ottawa (136) is Canada’s least expensive city.
“The weakening of the US Dollar against a number of other currencies, combined with a decrease in the cost of rental accommodation, has pulled US cities down the rankings,” says Constantin-Metral. “However, since March 2010 the dollar has strengthened so the situation does fluctuate.”
The information is used by governments and major companies to protect the purchasing power of their employees when transferred abroad; rental accommodation costs data is used to assess local expatriate housing allowances. The choice of cities surveyed is based on the demand for corresponding data from companies and governmental organizations.
What is the criteria for city rankings?