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Highlights from the 2012 Cost-of-Living Survey
- Tokyo is the world's most expensive city for expatriates; Karachi is the cheapest
- Most European cities drop in the ranking; Australian and New Zealand cities surge
Mercer’s Cost of Living rankings are released annually and measure the comparative cost of living for expatriates in 214 major cities. We compare the cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. We use New York City as the base city for the rankings and the US dollar as the base currency.
It is the world's most comprehensive cost of living survey and is used to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowance for their expatriate employees.
Generally, currency fluctuations have remained moderate between the 2011 and 2012 ranking periods. But the US dollar’s weakening against some currencies, such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars and the Japanese yen, pushed affected cities up in the rankings. Mercer’s 2012 Cost of Living report shows a number of cities from Asia-Pacific dominating the top of the rankings, with half the cities from the region in the top 30 spots. Expatriates in New Zealand experienced a particularly considerable rise in cost of living in the prior 12 months.
In the Americas, São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro remain the most expensive cities. While accommodation prices have increased strongly, the Brazilian real has weakened against the US dollar. US expatriates who saw the US dollar appreciate in comparison to their host country currency are experiencing a lower cost of living.
There is a declining trend in the relative cost of living for expatriates in cities in South and Central Asia. Karachi, Pakistan, remains the lowest-ranked city in our Cost of Living rankings.
Read more from the Press Release
12 June 2012
We sat down with Nathalie Constantin-Metral and Marie-Laurence Sepede to discuss the Cost of Living Survey results for 2012
(Video 3:12 min)
Cost-of-Living Information Services
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MercerPassport contains valuable reference
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