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Mercer’s 2024 Cost of Living City Ranking confirms what many of us already know: Singapore remains the second priciest city for international employees to live in, trailing only Hong Kong. The top five cities saw no change this year, with Zurich, Geneva, and Basel remaining the most expensive cities for expats in Europe.

“Cost-of-living challenges have had a significant impact on multinational organizations and their employees,” said Yvonne Traber, Mercer’s Global Mobility Leader. “It is important for organisations to stay informed about cost-of-living trends and inflation rates and seek input from employees on these issues to effectively manage their effects.”

Global Top Ten

RankingCityCountryChange
1Hong Kong Hong Kong (SAR)0
2SingaporeSingapore0
3ZurichSwitzerland0
4GenevaSwitzerland0
5BaselSwitzerland0
6BernSwitzerland1
7New York CityUnited States-1
8LondonUnited Kingdom9
9NassauBahamas1
10Los AngelesUnited States1

Singapore went from 8th to 2nd in 2022, mainly due to a strong currency position, with high inflation caused by post-pandemic supply chain disruptions and rising fuel costs. 

In 2024, the high-ranking cities all faced similar issues, such as expensive housing markets, high transportation costs, and higher costs of goods and services, which all contributed to high living costs.

South East Asia City Ranking

123Phnom PenhCambodia
129BangkokThailand
131ManilaPhilippines
157JakartaIndonesia
172HanoiVietnam
176Bandar Seri BegawanBrunei
178Ho Chi Minh CityVietnam
183YangonMyanmar
200Kuala LumpurMalaysia
211VientianeLaos
214Johor BaruMalaysia

Mercer analysed 226 cities worldwide, and compared 200 items in each location — from housing and transportation to food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. To ensure consistency in city-ranking comparisons, New York City was utilized as the base city and currency movements were measured against the US dollar.

Asia City Ranking

23ShanghaiChina
25BeijingChina
32SeoulSouth Korea
49TokyoJapan
69TaipeiTaiwan
136MumbaiIndia
140DhakaBangladesh
146OsakaJapan
165New DelhiIndia
222KarachiPakistan

Feature image: Mike Enerio@Unsplash

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(UEN 201431998C.)

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