back to top

Hong Kong, Singapore, Zurich Are World’s Most Expensive Cities – Report


In Mercer’s latest cost-of-living data for 2024, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Zurich have maintained their positions as the world’s most expensive cities for international workers, reflecting persistent economic realities and local market conditions.

The annual report evaluates living costs across 2261 cities globally, providing critical insights for global businesses and expatriates navigating diverse cost-of-living environments.

“Hong Kong, Singapore, and Zurich have upheld their status as the most expensive cities due to factors such as high housing prices, robust transportation costs, and elevated expenditures on goods and services,” noted a Mercer spokesperson.

The rankings underscore the impact of inflation, currency fluctuations, and geopolitical volatility on living expenses worldwide.

While cities like Hong Kong and Singapore face soaring costs driven by competitive housing markets and premium services, cities at the opposite end of the spectrum benefit from lower costs of living influenced by currency depreciations, as seen in Islamabad, Lagos, and Abuja.

Across regions, Mercer’s report reveals a concentration of expensive cities in Western Europe, with Swiss cities dominating alongside London, which has ascended to the top 10 list this year.

Conversely, cities in Southeast Asia, notably Hong Kong and Singapore, continue to lead the global rankings due to their dynamic economies and high costs of living.

For multinational corporations and international assignees, understanding these cost differentials is crucial for strategic planning and decision-making regarding relocation and global mobility operations.

The index also revealed that Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, is Africa’s most expensive city for international workers, with Djibouti and N’Djamena following closely behind.

Lagos and Abuja emerged as Africa’s second and third least expensive cities respectively.

The report says, “African cities that placed highest in the global Cost of Living City Ranking are Bangui (14, up 12 places), Djibouti (18) and N’Djamena (21). The least expensive cities in the region include Blantyre (221), Lagos (225, down 178 places) and Abuja (226).
“Between 2023 and 2024, the most significant increases in living costs were seen in cities in Africa (Accra, Addis Ababa and Cairo), Eastern Europe (Tirana) and Eastern Europe (Istanbul).

“Meanwhile, Lagos and Abuja’s affordability is influenced by currency depreciations and lower overall living costs compared to global standards.”
A statement issued by Mercer says inflation and geopolitical instability have contributed to varying living costs globally.

“Bangui’s ascent to the top of the list reflects the region’s economic challenges and the impact on living expenses,” stated a Mercer spokesperson.

Read more

Local News