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Cost of living

  • Tokyo and Osaka are world’s most expensive cities; Asuncion in Paraguay is cheapest
  • London moves down a place to become world’s third most expensive city
  • Many Eastern European cities have risen sharply in the rankings
  • Ottawa in Canada is the cheapest North American city
Tokyo remains the world’s most expensive city, followed by Osaka, according to the latest Cost of Living Survey from Mercer Human Resource Consulting. London moves down one position in the rankings to take third place, followed by Moscow which also drops a place this year. Asuncion in Paraguay is the least expensive city in the survey. With New York as the base city scoring 100 points, Tokyo scores 134.7 and is more than three times costlier than Asuncion, which has an index of 40.3. Mercer’s survey covers 144 cities across six 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 allowances for their expatriate employees.  “Currency fluctuations and exchange rates can have a huge impact on how much expatriates receive and what they can buy with that money,” commented Yvonne Sonsino, Partner at Mercer. “The challenge for multinational companies is to ensure their expatriate compensation packages remain fair and attractive enough to retain key employees, while making sure they do not pay over the odds and find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. While there has been significant investment by multinationals in traditionally ‘low-cost’ countries, the gap appears to be closing and local salaries are shooting up as a result of higher living expenses and an increased demand for skills,” she said. “Companies need to keep pace with the changes, and we find that many are now seeking guidance as they make regular review of their expatriate compensation packages a standard procedure.” There have been some significant changes in the rankings this year which are primarily due to exchange rate fluctuations, particularly of the US dollar and Euro.
Rank City
1 Tokyo, Japan
2 Osaka, Japan
3 London, United Kingdom
4 Moscow, Russia
5 Seoul, South Korea
6 Geneva, Switzerland
7 Zurich, Switzerland
8 Copenhagen, Denmark
9 Hong Kong, Hong Kong
10 Oslo, Norway
11 Milan, Italy
12 Paris, France
13 New York City, United States
13 Dublin, Ireland
15 St. Petersburg, Russia
16 Vienna, Austria
17 Rome, Italy
18 Stockholm, Sweden
19 Beijing, China
20 Sydney, Australia
20 Helsinki, Finland
22 Douala, Cameroon
22 Istanbul, Turkey
24 Amsterdam, Netherlands
24 Budapest, Hungary
26 Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire
27 Warsaw, Poland
28 Prague, Czech Republic
29 Taipei, Taiwan
30 Shanghai, China
31 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
32 Dusseldorf, Germany
33 Luxembourg, Luxembourg
34 Singapore, Singapore
34 Frankfurt, Germany
36 Dakar, Senegal
37 Munich, Germany
38 Berlin, Germany
39 Tel Aviv, Israel
40 Glasgow, United Kingdom
41 Athens, Greece
41 Brussels, Belgium
43 Barcelona, Spain
44 Los Angeles, United States
45 White Plains, United States
46 Madrid, Spain
47 Birmingham, United Kingdom
48 Zagreb, Croatia
49 Hamburg, Germany
50 Hanoi, Vietnam
50 San Francisco, United States
52 Chicago, United States
52 Beirut, Lebanon
54 Riga, Latvia
54 Kiev, Ukraine
56 Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
57 Miami, United States
58 Algiers, Algeria
59 Casablanca, Morocco
60 Tallin, Estonia
61 Lyon, France
61 Honolulu, United States
63 Shenzhen, China
64 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
65 Guangzhou, China
66 Lisbon, Portugal
67 Amman, Jordan
68 Melbourne, Australia
69 Auckland, New Zealand
70 Houston, United States
71 Jakarta, Indonesia
72 Kuwait City, Kuwait
73 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
74 San Juan, Puerto Rico
75 Almaty, Kazakhstan
76 Wellington, New Zealand
76 Ljubljana, Slovenia
78 Washington, D.C., United States
79 Boston, United States
80 Morristown, United States
81 Sofia, Bulgaria
82 Toronto, Canada
83 Atlanta, United States
84 Brisbane, Australia
85 Leipzig, Germany
86 Manama, Bahrain
87 Vancouver, Canada
88 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
89 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
89 Adelaide, Australia
91 Vilnius, Lithuania
91 Accra, Ghana
93 Perth, Australia
94 Denver, United States
95 Mexico City, Mexico
96 Lagos, Nigeria
97 Cairo, Egypt
98 Calgary, Canada
99 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
100 Limassol, Cyprus

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