Mercer living cost comparison published

Mercer living cost comparison published

The Angolan capital Luanda has been named as the most expensive city in the world for expatriates in an extensive study published by Mercer Consulting.

The latest cost of living comparison was published by Mercer last week covers 214 cities throughout the world and compares their cost of living by assessing the price of a basket of goods that includes housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. New York is used as the base city for the index, and all the cities were compared against it. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar. The data is intended as providing a means by which companies can assess expatriate compensation and determine pay levels required to offer them a standard of living in their host country that is comparable with that of their hometown.


After Luanda in first place, the Chadian capital N’Djamena is in third place followed by Libreville in Gabon in seventh place. The presence of three African cities in the top ten results for the first time ever, reveals that cities in the developing world do not necessarily offer a cheaper cost of living than their Asian and European counterparts. Discussing the results, Nathalie Constantin-Metral from Mercer, commented: “African cities now figure prominently, reflecting the growing economic importance of the region to global companies across all business sectors.

“Many people assume that cities in the developing world are cheap but this isn’t necessarily true for expatriates working there.”


Brazilian cities offer the highest cost of living in the Americas with Sao Paulo featuring as the most expensive city in the region, followed by Rio De Janeiro (29). The prominence of Brazilian cities in the high end of the table was attributed to the strength of the Brazilian Real against the United States Dollar.

New York was once again named as the most expensive city in America, followed by Los Angeles (55). The cheapest place in the US in which to live was named as Winston Salem (197).

“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 in the rankings,” said Ms Constantin-Metral. “However, since March 2010 the dollar has strengthened so the situation does fluctuate.”

Asia Pacific

Three Asian cities were featured in the top ten list of the most expensive cities in the world in which to live. Tokyo, which last month was named the most expensive city in the world by British global outsourcer Employment Conditions Abroad (ECA), was placed in position number two by the consulting firm, followed by Osaka in second place and Hong Kong in joint eighth place. Singapore just missed out on a top ten ranking with Mercer placing the Island State in position 11.

The Mercer cost of living comparison indicates that expats living in Australia may face a lower cost of living that those elsewhere in the world. Sydney was named as the 24th most expensive place in the world in which to live, followed by Melbourne (33) and Brisbane (55). Adelaide was the cheapest city in Australia at position 90.

In New Zealand, Auckland was named as the 149th most expensive city in the world for expatriates and Wellington (163) was named as the cheapest place to live in New Zealand.

Discussing these rankings Nathalie Constantin-Metral said: “At the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010, residential property prices in many Asian countries rose as the economic environment began to stabilize and demand for good expat housing increased.

“The strengthening of the Australian and New Zealand dollar against the US dollar also made Australian and New Zealand cities more costly for expatriates coming from the US.”


European cities once again featured heavily in the cost of living comparison, with Moscow appearing in position 4 followed by Geneva (5) and Zurich (joint 8) and Copenhagen (10). London was placed joint 17th with Paris.

Top Ten Most Expensive Cities in The World (Mercer July 2010)

Position City Country
1 Luanda Angola
2 Tokyo Japan
3 Ndjamena Chad
4 Moscow Russia
5 Geneva Switzerland
6 Osaka Japan
7 Libreville Gabon
8 Zurich Switerland
8 Hong Kong Hong Kong
10 Copenhagen Denmark

Bottom Ten Most Expensive Cities in The World (Mercer July 2010)

Position City Country
205 Windhoek Nambia
206 Tegucigaipa Houndouras
207 Kolkata/Culcatta India
208 Addis Ababa Ethiopia
209 Bishkek Kyrgyztan
210 Ashkhabad Turkmenstan
211 La Paz Bolivia
212 Islamabad Pakistan
213 Managua Nicaragua
214 Karachi Pakistan

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