World’s Most Expensive Cities for Expats 2013 Revealed


Luanda has overtaken Tokyo in Mercer’s 2013 list of the most expensive cities in the world in which to live.

Mercer’s annual cost of living survey was published yesterday and once again Luanda, Capital of Angola in Southern Africa, has topped Tokyo in the list of most expensive expat destinations in the world. According to the human resources company, the cost of living in Luanda, which is located in one of the world’s richest oil nations, is the highest in the world as a result of high accommodation costs and the hefty prices that are charged for imported goods.

Expatriates who relocate to Luanda face serious challenges attempting to secure appropriate accommodation, according to Barb Marder, senior partner and global mobility practice leader at Mercer: “Despite being one of Africa’s major oil producers, Angola is a relatively poor country yet expensive for expatriates since imported goods can be costly,” Marder said. “In addition, finding secure living accommodations that meet the standards of expatriates can be challenging and quite costly.”

While Luanda may be the most expensive city in the world in which to live, it was European and Asian cities that dominated the remainder of the top ten. Both Europe and the Asia-Pacific region both had four cities each in the top ten list of expensive expat destinations. Moscow was ranked as the most expensive city in Europe, followed by the three Swiss cities of Geneva, Zurich and Bern, which were placed seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively. Tokyo was named as the most expensive city in Asia (albeit falling two places to number three in the global rankings), followed by Singapore and Hong Kong.

“Overall, the cost of living in cities across parts of Europe have gone up in the ranking as a result of the slight strengthening of local currencies against the U.S. dollar, whereas in Asia about half of the cities went down in the ranking – Japan especially – due to local currencies’ weakening,” said Nathalie Constantin-Metral, who compiled the survey ranking.

Top Ten Most Expensive Cities in Which to Live 2013

  1. Luanda, Angola
  2. Moscow, Russia
  3. Tokyo, Japan
  4. N’Djamena, Chad
  5. Singapore
  6. Hong Kong, China
  7. Geneva, Switzerland
  8. Zurich, Switzerland
  9. Bern, Switzerland
  10. Sydney, Australia.

The annual Mercer cost of living survey examines the cost of living in 214 cities around the world. The results of the research are based on a comparison of the cost of over 200 items, including housing, transportation, food and clothing, using New York as a the base city.