ECA living cost comparison published

Tokyo has yet again been named the most expensive city in the world in which to live, this time by British global outsourcer Employment Conditions Abroad (ECA).

ECA are the latest company to publish research findings that reveal Tokyo to be the most expensive city in the world. The company, which based their living cost comparison on the amount of disposable income that expatriates will need to cover the additional costs of living in each city studied, revealed that it was a combination of the high costs of goods coupled with the strength of the Japanese yen that made Tokyo the most expensive city in the world.

Living Cost Comparison: Key Findings

Living cost comparison: Europe

Norwegian capital, Oslo, was named as the most expensive city in Europe and this was attributed to the strength of the krone, rise in oil prices and Oslo’s attractive position as a safe haven for investors.

Living cost comparison: Americas

ECA’s results reveal that Rio de Janeiro is the most expensive place to live in the Americas, with this city rising sharply in the rankings since last year’s findings. Similar results have been observed in cities throughout Brazil and rising costs have been attributed to the value of the Brazilian real as influenced by the worldwide demand for Brazilian commodities.

Manhattan was named as the most expensive place to live in North America but, on the whole, cities throughout the US experienced a fall in the rankings.

Living cost comparison: Australasia

Following the trend revealed by other cost of living surveys, the ECA found that costs in Australia are continuing to rise with many Australian cities moving up in the rankings. Canberra was named as the most expensive city in Australia.

Living cost comparison: Middle East and Africa

One of the most surprising results in the survey concerned Angolan capital Luanda’s position as the third most expensive city in the world. Discussing the results, a representative from ECA, Josephine Wooley commented: “Twenty-five years of war have completely destroyed the country’s infrastructure, complicating the supply of products typically found in the expat’s ‘shopping cart’. And the currency keeps getting stronger”.

Living cost comparison: Asia

Japanese cities once again dominated the top rankings, followed by Seoul and Hong Kong. Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia, ECA International, commented on Hong Kong’s position as the most expensive city in the greater China region: “Prices of goods and services commonly purchased by assignees there have increased more quickly than in other cities within the greater China area and this has contributed to the city rising slightly in the Asian ranking. However, the peg to the USD has offset the extent of this increase so that globally the city has fallen in the ranking.” Singapore, however, is rapidly gaining ground and is now the 67th most expensive city in the world in which to live, moving 6 places from its position the previous year.

Top Ten most expensive cities in the world

Position 2010 City Previous Year’s Position (2009)
1 Tokyo, Japan 2
2 Oslo, Norway 8
3 Luanda, Angola 1
4 Nagoya, Japan 3
5 Yokohama, Japan 4
6 Stavanger, Norway 14
7 Kobe, Japan 6
8 Copenhagen, Denmark 7
9 Geneva, Switzerland 9
1 0 Zurich, Switzerland 10

For full details of cost of living please see our expatriate city guides. They contain full and comprehensive listings for everyday items and what you can expect to pay for them for popular expatriate destinations throughout the world.

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