Mercer Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2012

Mercer Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2012
Leaving expat

Tokyo is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, pushing Luanda, Angola, down to second position, according to Mercer’s latest Cost of Living Survey. Osaka is in third position, up three places from last year, whereas Moscow remains in fourth and Geneva in fifth positions. Singapore and Zurich share sixth place, up two and one places respectively since 2011. Ndjamena, Chad, drops five places, but Hong Kong retains its ninth place.

Australian cities continue to rank high on the list in the Asia Pacific region and, following the strengthening of the Australian dollar, have all experienced further jumps up the global list since last year. Sydney (11) and Melbourne (15) experienced relatively moderate jumps, up three and six places respectively, whereas Perth (19) and Canberra (23) both jumped 11 places. Brisbane (24) rose by seven places, and Adelaide (27) shot up 19 places. Australia now has three surveyed cities in the top 20 and all six surveyed cities in the top 30. In New Zealand, both Auckland (56) and Wellington (74) both jumped a very significant 62 places.

The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. The cost of housing is also included and, as it is often the biggest expense for expatriates, it plays an important part in determining where cities are ranked. Mercer’s cost-of-living survey is the world’s most comprehensive and is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees. New York is used as the base city and all cities are compared against it. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar.

Top 5 cities in the Cost of Living worldwide rankings, by region

AmericasAsia PacificEurope, Middle East & Africa
  • São Paulo, Brazil (12th)
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (13th)
  • Caracas, Venezuela (29th)
  • New York, United States (33rd)
  • Brasilia, Brazil (33rd)
  • Tokyo, Japan (1st)
  • Osaka, Japan (3rd)
  • Singapore, Singapore (6th)
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong (9th)
  • Nagoya, Japan (10th)
  • Luanda, Angola (2nd)
  • Moscow, Russia (4th)
  • Geneva, Switzerland (5th)
  • Zurich, Switzerland (6th)
  • N’Djamena, Chad (8th)

Source : Mercer

Brett Evans is the Managing Director and a Financial Planner with Atlas Wealth Management which is the first financial services firm in Australia to specialise in providing financial advice to Australian expatriates. With over 20 years of experience in the finance and investments industry, Brett has worked for blue chip companies which include the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), HSBC, Suncorp and Citi Smith Barney.

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