Tokyo is the most expensive city in the world. The booming Asian city was ranked number one on this year’s Mercer Cost of Living Survey, up from the number two slot last year and pushing Luanda, Angola, out of the top spot.
Karachi, Pakistan, is the least expensive of the 214 countries included on the list.
At number 33, New York City is the only U.S. city that ranked among the 50 on the list. The next ranking city was Los Angeles at 68th and San Francisco at 90th. Other major U.S. cities on the list include Washington, DC at 107 and Miami at 110.
Portland, Oregon (178) and Winston-Salem, North Carolina (195) were the least expensive U.S. cities included in the survey.
Mercer, a private company, ranks 214 countries around the world using 200 items to determine the rankings including cost of transportation, food, clothing, housing, household goods and entertainment. The company uses New York City as the base city and ranks the other 213 cities against it.
Mercer uses the rankings to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation for employees in different countries.
With the economic troubles plaguing areas across the globe, the list looks quite different than it did last year.
“When compared to New York, our benchmark city, most European cities have witnessed a decline in cost of living,” said Nathalie Constantin-Metral, the principal at Mercer who is in charge of compiling the list each year.
“In North America, most cities have gone up in the ranking as the U.S. dollar has strengthened against a large proportion of the world’s other currencies. In Asia, more than six in ten cities moved up in the rankings, including all surveyed cities in Australia, China, Japan and New Zealand. Cities in Australia and New Zealand witnessed some of the biggest jumps, as their currencies strengthened significantly against the U.S. dollar.”
Moscow remains the most expensive European city, ranking at number four on the list.
London is the most expensive city in the UK at number 25 on the list, down seven slots from last year.
Paris is down 10 slots to number 37 while Dublin has plummeted 14 places down to number 72.
Tel Aviv is the most expensive city in the Middle East, at number 31 on the list, while Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is again the least expensive city in the region, at 186.
Africa boasts some of the most expensive cities for expatriates, including Luanda, Angola, the number two ranking – but there’s a catch.
“It might be surprising to see 20 African countries in the top third of the ranking,” Constantin-Metral said. “The main driver behind this is the difficulty finding good, secure accommodation for expatriates. So the limited supply of acceptable accommodation is very expensive. The cost of imported international goods is also high, contributing to many regional cities moving up the ranking.”
Asian cities dominated the list. Besides Tokyo claiming the number one slot, other notable cities include Osaka (3), Singapore (6), Hong Kong (9), Nagoya (10), Shanghai (16) and Beijing (17).
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