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Cost of Living: Paris is the 27th Most Expensive City for Expatriates

For the second year running, Luanda is the most expensive city of the world for expatriates. The Angolan capital is three times as costly as Karachi which is the word’s least expensive city. These are the results of this year’s Mercer Cost of Living Survey.

Mercer’s 2011 Cost of Living Survey

214 cities across 5 continents have been covered by the Mercer survey. In each location the comparative cost of over 200 items have been measured, including housing, transport, clothing, food, household goods and entertainment. The cost of housing represents an important expense for expatriates and plays a key role in determining where cities are ranked. New York is used as the base city and currency movements are measured against the USD.

Changes in the Ranking

There are no changes concerning the most expensive locations at the top of the ranking: Tokyo remains in second position and N’Djamena in Chad stays the 3rd most expensive city. The Russian capital follows in fourth position with Geneva on place 5.

Further down in the ranking, however, there are important changes. Sao Paolo was able to move up from 21st to 10th position, while Copenhagen was kicked out of the top 10 and dropped seven places from 10 to 17.

Paris drops to place 27 on the Ranking

Since last year the French capital dropped from place 17 to place 27. Mercer explains this phenomenon by the fact that rental prices have increased less drastically in Paris than in New York over the last 12 months. The housing costs and other costs measured in Paris do not decrease. The dropping to place 27 is mechanical.

The other French city included in the survey, Lyon, is ranked on place 120 in terms of cost of living. The high distance in the ranking can be explained by the large difference concerning housing costs between the capital and the rest of France.

The Impact of Natural Disasters and Currency Fluctuations on the Ranking

Natural disasters, political upheavals and other recent world events have impacted the rankings for several regions through currency fluctuations, cost inflation and volatility in real estate market prices. Nathalie Constantin-Métral, Senior Researcher at Mercer, commented: “Overall, the cost of living in cities across Europe has remained relatively stable, while in Africa the picture is patchy with the limited availability of accommodation leading to increased living costs in some key cities”.

March 2011 March 2010 City Country
1 1 LUANDA ANGOLA
2 2 TOKYO JAPAN
3 3 N'DJAMENA CHAD
4 4 MOSCOW RUSSIA
5 5 GENEVA SWITZERLAND
6 6 OSAKA JAPAN
7 8 ZURICH SWITZERLAND
8 11 SINGAPORE SINGAPORE
9 8 HONG KONG HONG KONG
10 21 SÂO PAULO BRAZIL
11 19 NAGOYA JAPAN
12 7 LIBREVILLE GABON
12 29 RIO DE JANEIRO BRAZIL
14 24 SYDNEY AUSTRALIA
15 11 OSLO NORWAY
16 22 BERN SWITZERLAND
17 10 COPENHAGEN DENMARK
18 17 LONDON UNITED KINGDOM
19 14 SEOUL SOUTH KOREA
20 16 BEIJING CHINA
21 25 SHANGHAI CHINA
21 33 MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA
23 23 NIAMEY NIGER
24 19 TEL AVIV ISRAEL
25 13 VICTORIA SEYCHELLES
25 15 MILAN ITALY
27 17 PARIS FRANCE
28 67 OUAGADOUGOU BURKINA FASO
29 30 ST. PETERSBURG RUSSIA
30 60 PERTH AUSTRALIA

(Mercer, 1 of July 2011)

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