These are the most expensive cities in the world for expats in 2024

By Alex Millson

Regional financial centers Hong Kong and Singapore top a new global list of the world’s most expensive cities for expats, knocking Swiss destinations off the top spots for the second year in a row.

According to Mercer’s 2024 Cost of Living report, rival cities beat Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Bern due to high rental costs.

New York dropped one spot to seventh place. London finished in eighth place, up nine places since last year’s rankings.

According to the Mercer report, rising housing costs and “volatile inflation trends” are putting pressure on compensation packages for expat workers.

“Cost of living challenges have had a significant impact on multinational organizations and their employees,” said Yvonne Traber, Mercer’s global mobility leader, in a press release.

“High costs of living can cause assignees to adjust their lifestyles, cut back on discretionary spending or even struggle to meet their basic needs,” Traber said. “To address these challenges, employers can offer compensation packages that include housing benefits or subsidies, or offer other support services.”

Elsewhere on the list:

  • Seven American cities made it into the top 20, including Los Angeles (10th), Honolulu (12th) and San Francisco (13th).

  • Sydney was the most expensive place in the Pacific (58th)

  • Toronto was the most expensive city in Canada (92nd)

  • Mumbai was India’s most expensive destination (136th)

  • Nigeria’s Lagos (225th) and Abuja (226th) fell to the bottom of the table due to currency fluctuations.

Mercer measured the relative costs of more than 200 items and services – including housing, transportation, food, clothing and household goods – to come up with a ranking of 226 cities.

These are the 30 most expensive cities in the world for expats:

  1. Hong Kong, China

  2. Singapore

  3. Zurich, Switzerland

  4. Geneva, Switzerland

  5. Basel, Switzerland

  6. Bern, Switzerland

  7. New York, USA

  8. London, United Kingdom

  9. Nassau, Bahamas

  10. Los Angeles, USA

  11. Copenhagen, Denmark

  12. Honolulu, USA

  13. San Francisco, USA

  14. Bangui, Central African Republic

  15. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  16. Tel Aviv, Israel

  17. Miami, USA

  18. Djibouti, Djibouti

  19. Boston, USA

  20. Chicago, USA

  21. N’Djamena, Chad

  22. Washington, DC, USA

  23. Shanghai, China

  24. Vienna Austria

  25. Beijing, China

  26. Conakry, Guinea

  27. Atlanta, USA

  28. Seattle, USA

  29. Paris, France

  30. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Published June 17, 2024, 7:23 AM IST