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Top Expensive Cities 2024

Mercer’s Cost of Living City rankings for 2024 reveal that Hong Kong, Singapore, and Zurich remain the world’s most expensive cities for expatriates. These cities have consistently topped the list, reflecting their high cost of living. On the other hand, cities like Islamabad, Lagos, and Abuja are among the cheapest places to live.

Mercer’s 2024 Ranking Analysis

Mercer evaluated 226 cities globally, basing its findings on the cost of over 200 items ranging from housing and transport to food and entertainment. New York City serves as the baseline for measurement, with costs calibrated in US dollars to ensure uniformity across the data. Several dynamics affect living expenses for expatriates, including changes in exchange rates and inflation, which directly impact the income and savings of expats. Housing, taxes, education, and utility costs have also increased due to unstable macroeconomic and geopolitical conditions.

Regional Highlights


Several European cities rank high on the list, reflecting the continent’s overall high cost of living:

  • London (8th)
  • Copenhagen (11th)
  • Vienna (24th)
  • Paris (29th)
  • Amsterdam (30th)

Middle East

Dubai ranks as the most expensive city in the Middle East, coming in at 15th place.

South America

In South America, Uruguay takes the lead as the most expensive city, ranked 42nd.

North America

New York City stands out as the most expensive city in North America, securing the 7th position globally.


Bangui is the most expensive city in Africa, ranked 14th.


Sydney is the most expensive city in the Pacific region.

Most Expensive Cities in the World

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Singapore
  3. Zurich
  4. Geneva
  5. Basel
  6. Bern
  7. New York
  8. London
  9. Nassau
  10. Los Angeles

Least Expensive Cities in the World

  1. Abuja, Nigeria
  2. Lagos, Nigeria
  3. Islamabad, Pakistan
  4. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  5. Karachi, Pakistan
  6. Blantyre, Malawi
  7. Dushanbe, Tajikistan
  8. Durban, South Africa
  9. Windhoek, Namibia
  10. Havana, Cuba

Mercer’s rankings offer invaluable insights for expatriates and organizations making decisions about international assignments, highlighting the wide range of living costs across different cities worldwide.

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