Expensive cities for expats: Here are the 20 most expensive cities in the world for expats

Hong Kong is the most expensive city in the world to live as an expat for the second year in a row, according to a new study. New York and Geneva took second and third place in the ranking.

Higher prices and a stronger currency over the past year have kept the Asian city at the top of the tree, according to ECA International, which conducted its research in March this year. London and Tokyo complete the top five.

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Soaring rents are part of the reason London and New York ranked in the top five, with rents in those cities rising 20% ​​and 12% respectively.

Elsewhere in the cost of living report, Singapore remained in 13th place despite significant increases in rents, petrol prices and utilities. These were offset by the weakening of the Singapore dollar against other regional currencies during the latter part of the investigation period, the ECA said. Japanese cities all fell down the ranks as the yen weakened, while Chinese cities rose – with Shanghai and Guangzhou in 8th and 9th positions respectively – on a stronger yuan.


Here are some other survey results:

  • Gasoline prices climbed an average of 37% from a year earlier across all cities, while Beirut saw a 1,128% increase
  • Ankara in Turkey is the world’s cheapest city for expats, having fallen five places to 207th place
  • The war in Ukraine saw cooking oil prices rise by an average of 25% last year across all cities in the ranking
  • Fuel prices in Tehran were the cheapest, with a liter of gasoline costing just $0.09
  • A cup of coffee at $5.21, a liter of gasoline at $3.04 and a kilo of tomatoes at $11.51 are just some of the prices that propelled Hong Kong to the top of the list.

“Although Hong Kong has been less affected by rising global inflation than other regional and global locations over the past year, it is still the most expensive place in the world,” the director said. ECA International Regional for Asia, Lee Quane, in a press release. saying.

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“It is the strength of the Hong Kong dollar, which is pegged to the US dollar, over the past year that has allowed it to maintain its position as the most expensive place in the world as other currencies have fallen. weakened.”

ECA International analyzes the cost of consumer goods and services at over 490 locations worldwide, while accommodation data is also factored in, comparing rental costs in areas typically inhabited by expatriate staff in over 410 locations worldwide. The latest report ranks 207 cities in 120 countries.

Here are the 20 most expensive places in the world for expats (with the March 2021 ranking in brackets):

  1. Hong Kong (2021 ranking: 1)
  2. New York, USA (4)
  3. Geneva, Switzerland (3)
  4. London, UK (5)
  5. Tokyo, Japan (2)
  6. Tel Aviv, Israel (7)
  7. Zürich, Switzerland (6)
  8. Shanghai, China (9)
  9. Guangzhou, China (10)
  10. Seoul, South Korea (8)
  11. San Francisco, USA (15)
  12. Shenzhen, China (12)
  13. Singapore (13)
  14. Beijing, China (16)
  15. Jerusalem, Israel (18)
  16. Bern, Switzerland (17)
  17. Yokohama, Japan (11)
  18. Copenhagen, Denmark (14)
  19. Oslo, Norway (19)
  20. Taipei, Taiwan (21)
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