2018 Cost of Living Ranking

2018 Cost of Living Ranking

Newsroom

Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, according to annual Mercer Cost of Living report

  • June 26, 2018
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong knocks Luanda off top spot, Singapore ranks fourth.
  • The strengthening of the Chinese yuan pushed Chinese cities up the list: Shanghai (7), and Beijing (9).

Mercer, a global consulting leader in advancing health, wealth and careers, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), has released its 24th annual Cost of Living survey. According to Mercer’s 2018 Cost of Living survey, Hong Kong is now the world’s most expensive city for expatriates.

Asian cities continue to dominate the rankings

This year, Hong Kong (1) emerged as the most expensive city for expatriates both in Asia and globally as a consequence of Luanda’s drop in the ranking due to the weakening of its local currency. Hong Kong is followed by Tokyo (2), Singapore (4), Seoul (5), Shanghai (7), and Beijing (9).

This year's changes in the ranking were due mainly to currency fluctuations, in particular against the US dollar. “The strengthening of the Chinese yuan pushed Chinese cities up the ranking,” said  Peter KH Chan, Mercer's talent consultant in Hong Kong. “However, most cities in Japan fell in the ranking due to the weakening of the Japanese yen against the US dollar.”

“While Hong Kong, as an international financial center, is still considered to be one of the top locations for international assignments, the increasing cost of living in the city is definitely a challenge for businesses.” Mr. Chan added. “Global talents look at factors including cost of living, quality of living and international schools when they relocate. While cost is not the only criteria, rental prices in Hong Kong, currently at an all-time high, will be a concern to expatriates, especially those with a family.”

“We recommend that organisations in Hong Kong frequently  review  their compensation and benefits approach including housing allowances in expatriate packages in order to stay competitive,” Mr. Chan said.

Earlier this year, Mercer’s Quality of Living report gave Hong Kong an international ranking of 71, highlighting the need for the city to make crucial improvments to its sanitation, with the increasing demands on the city’s infrastructure.Proper compensation on international assignments is important

“Aligning workforce and mobility strategies by ensuring the right employees are in the right place is more critical than ever to manage globalization,” said Ilya Bonic, Senior Partner and President of Mercer’s Career business. “And, properly compensating employees on international assignments is as important as it is costly.”

Mr. Bonic added that costs of goods and services shift with inflation and currency volatility, leadng to a difference in overseas assignment costs. Recent low levels of inflation have translated into fairly steady cost increases around the world.

Mercer’s 2018 Cost of Living survey is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation strategies for their expatriate employees. New York City is used as the base city for all comparisons and currency movements are measured against the US dollar. The survey includes over 375 cities throughout the world; this year’s ranking includes 209 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

Mercer produces individual cost of living and rental accommodation cost reports for each city surveyed. For more information on city rankings, visit www.mercer.com/col. To purchase copies of individual city reports, visit https://www.imercer.com/products/cost-of-living.aspx or call Mercer Client Services in Warsaw on +48 22 434 5383.

 

Notes for editors

The list of rankings is provided to journalists for reference and should not be published in full. The top 10 and bottom 10 cities may be reproduced in a table.

The figures for Mercer’s cost of living and rental accommodation costs comparisons are derived from a survey conducted in March 2018. Exchange rates from that time and Mercer’s international basket of goods and services from its Cost of Living survey have been used as base measurements.

Governments and major companies use data from this survey to protect the purchasing power of their employees when transferred abroad; rental accommodation costs data is used to assess local expatriate housing allowances. The choice of cities surveyed is based on the demand for data.

 

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About Mercer

Mercer delivers advice and technology-driven solutions that help organizations meet the health, wealth and career needs of a changing workforce. Mercer’s more than 23,000 employees are based in 44 countries and the firm operates in over 130 countries. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), the leading global professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people. With nearly 65,000 colleagues and annual revenue over $14 billion, Marsh & McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. Marsh & McLennan Companies is also the parent company of Marsh,which advises individual and commercial clients of all sizes on insurance broking and innovative risk management solutions;Guy Carpenter, which develops advanced risk, reinsurance and capital strategies that help clients grow profitably and pursue emerging opportunities; and Oliver Wyman, which serves as a critical strategic, economic and brand advisor to private sector and governmental clients. For more information, visit www.mercer.com. Follow Mercer on Twitter @Mercer.

 

Mercer Cost of Living Survey – Worldwide Rankings 2018

(The Mercer international basket, including rental accommodation costs)

Rank as of March

City

Country

2017

2018

2

1

HONG KONG

Hong Kong (SAR)

3

2

TOKYO

Japan

4

3

ZURICH

Switzerland

5

4

SINGAPORE

Singapore

6

5

SEOUL

South Korea

1

6

LUANDA

Angola

8

7

SHANGHAI

China

15

8

NDJAMENA

Chad

11

9

BEIJING

China

10

10

BERN

Switzerland

7

11

GENEVA

Switzerland

12

12

SHENZHEN

China

9

13

NEW YORK CITY

United States

27

14

COPENHAGEN

Denmark

18

15

GUANGZHOU

China

16

16

TEL AVIV

Israel

13

17

MOSCOW

Russia

32

18

LIBREVILLE

Gabon

30

19

BRAZZAVILLE

Congo

29

19

LONDON

United Kingdom

13

21

VICTORIA

Seychelles

42

22

NOUMEA

New Caledonia

20

23

OSAKA

Japan

42

24

ABIDJAN

Côte d'Ivoire

32

25

NANJING

China

19

26

DUBAI

United Arab Emirates

24

27

TAIPEI

Taiwan

21

28

SAN FRANCISCO

United States

24

29

SYDNEY

Australia

37

29

TIANJIN

China

46

31

CHENGDU

China

66

32

DUBLIN

Ireland

71

33

MILAN

Italy

62

34

PARIS

France

23

35

LOS ANGELES

United States

45

36

QINGDAO

China

17

37

KINSHASA

Dem. Rep. of the Congo

42

38

SHENYANG

China

78

39

VIENNA

Austria

22

40

ABU DHABI

United Arab Emirates

34

41

NAGOYA

Japan

28

42

LAGOS

Nigeria

57

43

ASHGABAT

Turkmenistan

70

43

YAOUNDE

Cameroon

52

45

RIYADH

Saudi Arabia

80

46

ROME

Italy

46

47

OSLO

Norway

84

48

BANGUI

Central African Republic

35

49

ST. PETERSBURG

Russia

85

50

AMSTERDAM

Netherlands

31

51

CHICAGO

United States

67

52

BANGKOK

Thailand

88

53

HELSINKI

Finland

35

54

HONOLULU

United States

57

55

MUMBAI

India

39

56

WASHINGTON

United States

98

57

MUNICH

Germany

46

58

MELBOURNE

Australia

26

58

SAO PAULO

Brazil

41

60

MIAMI

United States

50

61

PERTH

Australia

93

62

DAKAR

Senegal

54

63

ACCRA

Ghana

111

64

MADRID

Spain

52

65

BEIRUT

Lebanon

37

66

DHAKA

Bangladesh

104

67

BRUSSELS

Belgium

117

68

FRANKFURT

Germany

67

69

SANTIAGO

Chile

51

70

BOSTON

United States

120

71

BERLIN

Germany

107

71

LUXEMBOURG

Luxembourg

49

73

DJIBOUTI

Djibouti

94

73

DOUALA

Cameroon

65

75

MONTEVIDEO

Uruguay

40

76

BUENOS AIRES

Argentina

71

77

CANBERRA

Australia

55

77

MANAMA

Bahrain

121

79

BARCELONA

Spain

64

79

WHITE PLAINS

United States

61

81

AUCKLAND

New Zealand

122

82

DUSSELDORF

Germany

132

83

PRAGUE

Czech Republic

71

84

BRISBANE

Australia

62

85

DALLAS

United States

74

86

HOUSTON

United States

77

87

ADELAIDE

Australia

125

88

HAMBURG

Germany

106

89

STOCKHOLM

Sweden

76

90

SEATTLE

United States

67

91

YANGON

Myanmar

126

92

RIGA

Latvia

137

93

LISBON

Portugal

59

94

AMMAN

Jordan

83

95

ATLANTA

United States

79

95

SAN JUAN

Puerto Rico

81

97

MORRISTOWN

United States

75

97

PORT OF SPAIN

Trinidad & Tobago

59

99

ABUJA

Nigeria

56

99

RIO DE JANEIRO

Brazil

86

101

WELLINGTON

New Zealand

86

102

MINNEAPOLIS

United States

99

103

NEW DELHI

India

130

104

POINTE A PITRE

Guadeloupe

137

105

LYON

France

100

106

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

Brunei

91

106

CONAKRY

Guinea

141

108

STUTTGART

Germany

119

109

TORONTO

Canada

107

109

VANCOUVER

Canada

139

111

COTONOU

Benin

144

112

ATHENS

Greece

147

113

BRATISLAVA

Slovakia

88

114

PANAMA CITY

Panama

81

115

DOHA

Qatar

95

116

DETROIT

United States

88

117

JAKARTA

Indonesia

117

117

JEDDAH

Saudi Arabia

92

117

MUSCAT

Oman

126

120

BAMAKO

Mali

111

121

KUWAIT CITY

Kuwait

100

122

ST. LOUIS

United States

111

123

NAIROBI

Kenya

97

124

HO CHI MINH CITY

Vietnam

100

125

CLEVELAND

United States

107

125

PITTSBURGH

United States

134

125

PORT AU PRINCE

Haiti

147

128

BIRMINGHAM

United Kingdom

130

128

CASABLANCA

Morocco

111

130

GUATEMALA CITY

Guatemala

115

130

PORTLAND

United States

104

132

LIMA

Peru

161

132

LJUBLJANA

Slovenia

146

134

ABERDEEN

United Kingdom

144

134

LOME

Togo

153

134

OUAGADOUGOU

Burkina Faso

100

137

HANOI

Vietnam

95

138

MANILA

Philippines

159

138

ZAGREB

Croatia

160

140

TALLINN

Estonia

110

141

SAN JOSE

Costa Rica

115

142

PHNOM PENH

Cambodia

158

143

NIAMEY

Niger

135

144

CHENNAI

India

165

145

KUALA LUMPUR

Malaysia

168

145

NURNBERG

Germany

129

147

MONTREAL

Canada

161

148

GLASGOW

United Kingdom

167

148

VILNIUS

Lithuania

172

150

LEIPZIG

Germany

176

151

BUDAPEST

Hungary

170

152

BELFAST

United Kingdom

173

153

LIMASSOL

Cyprus

143

154

CALGARY

Canada

180

154

WARSAW

Poland

123

156

QUITO

Ecuador

177

157

MEXICO CITY

Mexico

126

158

BRASILIA

Brazil

132

158

COLOMBO

Sri Lanka

152

160

OTTAWA

Canada

171

161

PORT LOUIS

Mauritius

140

161

WINSTON SALEM

United States

142

163

ISTANBUL

Turkey

155

164

KINGSTON

Jamaica

156

165

HARARE

Zimbabwe

151

165

HAVANA

Cuba

169

165

RABAT

Morocco

153

168

BOGOTA

Colombia

147

169

KIGALI

Rwanda

166

170

BENGALURU

India

199

170

CAPE TOWN

South Africa

189

172

TIRANA

Albania

163

173

KIEV

Ukraine

156

174

SAN SALVADOR

El Salvador

184

175

SOFIA

Bulgaria

181

176

BUCHAREST

Romania

191

177

JOHANNESBURG

South Africa

150

178

SANTO DOMINGO

Dominican Republic

188

179

MAPUTO

Mozambique

164

180

DAR ES SALAAM

Tanzania

198

181

BELGRADE

Serbia

184

182

KOLKATA

India

136

183

ADDIS ABABA

Ethiopia

178

183

ASUNCION

Paraguay

179

185

LUSAKA

Zambia

182

186

BAKU

Azerbaijan

175

187

ALMATY

Kazakhstan

183

188

CAIRO

Egypt

196

189

GABORONE

Botswana

173

190

ISLAMABAD

Pakistan

202

191

SARAJEVO

Bosnia and Herzegovina

186

192

KAMPALA

Uganda

203

193

MONTERREY

Mexico

189

194

NOUAKCHOTT

Mauritania

187

195

ALGIERS

Algeria

206

196

WINDHOEK

Namibia

206

197

SKOPJE

Macedonia

195

198

YEREVAN

Armenia

193

199

LA PAZ

Bolivia

194

200

MANAGUA

Nicaragua

197

201

TEGUCIGALPA

Honduras

200

202

MINSK

Belarus

204

203

TBILISI

Georgia

205

204

BLANTYRE

Malawi

201

205

KARACHI

Pakistan

192

206

BANJUL

Gambia

208

207

BISHKEK

Kyrgyzstan

209

208

TUNIS

Tunisia

123

209

TASHKENT

Uzbekistan

Source: Mercer’s 2018 Cost of Living Survey

 

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