Moscow crowned most expensive city for expats for third year running

Moscow is the world’s most expensive city for expats for the third consecutive year, according to the annual Cost of Living Survey from HR consultancy Mercer.

Tokyo is in second position, climbing two places since last year, whereas London drops one place to rank third. Asunción in Paraguay is the least expensive city in the ranking for the sixth year running.

With New York as the base city (scoring 100 points), Moscow scores 142.4 – almost three times costlier than Asunción, which has a score of 52.5. The research showed the gap between the world’s most and least expensive cities now seems to be widening.

Mercer’s survey covers 143 cities across six continents, and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. The survey is used to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees.

Yvonne Traber, a principal and research manager at Mercer, said: “Although the traditionally expensive cities of Western Europe and Asia still feature in the top 20, cities in Eastern Europe, Brazil and India are creeping up the list. Conversely, some locations such as Stockholm and New York now appear less costly by comparison.

“Keeping on top of the changes in expatriate cost of living is essential so companies can ensure their employees are compensated fairly and at competitive rates when stationed abroad.”

In addition to London dropping one place, two other UK cities, Birmingham and Glasgow, have both moved down in the rankings, dropping from 41st to 66th (score 85.4) and 36th to 69th (score 84), respectively.

Top 10 most expensive cities

  1. Moscow
  2. Tokyo
  3. London
  4. Oslo
  5. Seoul
  6. Hong Kong
  7. Copenhagen
  8. Geneva
  9. Zurich
  10. Milan

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