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British Expat

The five most expensive cities for expatriates

I came across Mercer’s 2010 Cost of Living survey highlights which, among other things, lists the five most expensive cities in the world for expatriates. This could be useful for checking that you’re receiving the right amount of allowances. Alternatively, if you hire expats, you may find the full report useful for setting allowances.

Here are the top five most expensive cities:

  1. Luanda (Angola)
  2. Tokyo (Japan)
  3. Ndjamena (Chad)
  4. Moscow (Russia)
  5. Geneva (Switzerland)

You can get a free overview of the report from Mercer’s website. (The full version of the report, which can be purchased from there too, costs US $600 or €450.)

PG Author: Kay McMahon

Kay has been an expat for nearly 30 years. She set up the British Expat website back in early 2000, whilst living in London and missing the expat life. These days she spends much of her time lugging computers and cameras around the world. (Dave gets to deal with all the really heavy stuff.)


Dave McMahon 01-09-2010, 07:38

Wow! I’d never have imagined Luanda and Ndjamena would be on that list.

Then again, not so long ago Bombay of all places was reputed to have the most expensive rents in Asia, if not in the world – so perhaps there’s something about those two places which are skewing the results in unexpected ways. (Or unexpected if you’re not an old Africa hand, at least.)

Kay McMahon 01-09-2010, 08:22

I’ve just found a bit of analysis of the results on Forbes magazine. Worth a read, I think.

Rob 10-10-2010, 13:23

How does gibraltar fare on the list? Rents seemed more expensive than central london prices when I was there, everybody lived over the border in La Linea or the golfing resorts along the coast – Alcaidesa and Duquesa.

Dave McMahon 10-10-2010, 14:20

It’d be interesting to see, Rob, but I’m not sure whether it’s included on Mercer’s list – it doesn’t figure in their round-up of Europe.

As for rents, with 30,000 people squeezing into less than seven square kilometres one might expect Gibraltar’s rents to be pretty high. But then again, the City of Westminster’s got more than twice the population density…

Online Invoices 11-10-2010, 00:03

One thing to remember is that FX rates play a huge importance when calculating these top 10 most expensive cities lists!

When I moved to Tokyo, a beer was 1000 JPY, with GBPJPY up at 240 ish that equates to roughly GBP 4.15 a pint.

With fx here at 130, that same beer (still 1000 JPY) has rocketed to 7.70 GBP!

The same thing will also be true when calculating rents, cost of living etc, so a tough one to truely calculate the cost of living.

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