Mercer has released its 25th annual Cost of Living survey, which measures the cost of living for expats abroad, and Vancouver was ranked the most expensive Canadian city.
The survey was designed as a guide for multinational companies and governments in determining compensation allowances for expatriate employees. It measures a variety of factors, including: currency fluctuations, cost of inflation for goods and services, and volatility in accommodation prices. In addition, the survey measures, "200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment."
Mercer measures 500 cities throughout the world, and this year’s ranking includes 209 cities across five continents.
Hong Kong had the highest cost of living this year, due mostly to the cost of housing, declining currency value against the US dollar, and rising cost of living; it also had the highest cost of living last year. Tokyo came second, followed by Singapore in third. In fact, eight of the top ten most expensive cities in the ranking are in Asia, "resulting from high costs for expatriate consumer goods and a dynamic housing market."
Vancouver ranked 112 in the world for expats, and the most expensive in Canada. Toronto was the second most expensive city in the country, ranking 115. Last year, Vancouver ranked 109. So, while it was ranked the most costly city in Canada, it became a more affordable option on the global scale.
Tunis, Tunisia ranked 209 in the world, making it the most affordable city for expats to live. Tashkent, Uzbekistan came second least expensive, ranking 208. Karachi, Pakistan ranked third least expensive, ranking 207.
“Cost of living is an important component of a city’s attractiveness for businesses,” said Yvonne Traber, Global Mobility Product Solutions Leader at Mercer.
“Decision makers increasingly acknowledge that globalization is challenging cities to inform, innovate, and compete to foster the kind of satisfaction that attracts both people and investment – the keys to a city’s future.”
Cost of Living: Worldwide Ranking 2019
1. Hong Kong
2. Tokyo, Japan
4. Seoul, South Korea
5. Zurich, Switzerland
6. Shanghai, China
7. Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
8. Beijing, China
9. New York, USA
10. Shenzhen, China