Bangkok is the 35th most expensive city for expats (+5 compared to 40th in 2019) according to Mercer’s 2020 Cost of Living Survey
According to Mercer’s 2020 Cost of Living Survey, Hong Kong tops the list of most expensive cities for expatriates, followed by Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in second position.
Tokyo and Zurich remain in third and fourth positions, respectively, whereas Singapore is in fifth, down two places from last year. New York City ranked sixth, moving up from ninth place.
Other cities appearing in the top 10 of Mercer’s costliest cities for expatriates are Shanghai (7), Bern (8), Geneva (9), and Beijing (10).
The world’s least expensive cities for expatriates, according to Mercer’s survey, are Tunis (209), Windhoek (208), Tashkent and Bishkek, which tied to rank 206.
“The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that sending and keeping employees on international assignments is a huge responsibility and a difficult task to manage,” said Ilya Bonic, Career President and Head of Mercer Strategy. “Rather than bet on a dramatic resurgence of mobility, organizations should prepare for the redeployment of their mobile workforces, leading with empathy and understanding that not all expatriates will be ready or willing to go abroad.”
“Border closings, flight interruptions, mandatory confinements, and other short-term disruptions have affected not only the cost of goods and services but also the quality of living of assignees,” said Mr. Bonic.
Climate change, issues related to environmental footprint, and health system challenges have pushed multinationals to consider how a city’s efforts around sustainability can impact the living conditions for their expatriate workers. Cities with a strong sustainability focus can greatly improve living standards, which can in turn improve employee well-being and engagement.”
ILYA BONIC, CAREER PRESIDENT AND HEAD OF MERCER STRATEGY.
Six of the top 10 cities in this year’s ranking are in Asia. Hong Kong (1) retained its spot as the most expensive city for expatriates both in Asia and globally due to currency movements measured against the US dollar and driving up the cost of living locally. This global financial center is followed by Ashgabat (2) Tokyo (3) Singapore (5) Shanghai (7) and Beijing (10). Mumbai (60) is India’s most expensive city while Kolkata (185) is the least expensive Indian city ranked.
Australian cities have fallen in the ranking this year as the local currency has depreciated against the US dollar. Sydney (66), Australia’s most expensive ranked city for expatriates, experienced a drop of sixteen places. The least expensive city in the region, Adelaide fell seventeen places to rank 126.
1 1 HONG KONG HONG KONG (SAR)
7 2 ASHGABAT TURKMENISTAN
2 3 TOKYO JAPAN
5 4 ZURICH SWITZERLAND
3 5 SINGAPORE SINGAPORE
9 6 NEW YORK CITY UNITED STATES
6 7 SHANGHAI CHINA
12 8 BERN SWITZERLAND
13 9 GENEVA SWITZERLAND
8 10 BEIJING CHINA
4 11 SEOUL SOUTH KOREA
15 12 TEL AVIV ISRAEL
10 13 SHENZHEN CHINA
14 14 VICTORIA SEYCHELLES
11 15 NDJAMENA CHAD
16 16 SAN FRANCISCO UNITED STATES
18 17 LOS ANGELES UNITED STATES
25 18 LAGOS NIGERIA
23 19 LONDON UNITED KINGDOM
17 20 GUANGZHOU CHINA
27 21 MOSCOW RUSSIA
19 22 OSAKA JAPAN
21 23 DUBAI UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
22 24 KINSHASA DEM. REP. OF THE CONGO
20 25 COPENHAGEN DENMARK
33 26 NAGOYA JAPAN
47 26 DHAKA BANGLADESH
35 28 TAIPEI TAIWAN
38 28 HONOLULU UNITED STATES
37 30 CHICAGO UNITED STATES
35 31 RIYADH SAUDI ARABIA
42 32 WASHINGTON UNITED STATES
24 33 LIBREVILLE GABON
27 34 NANJING CHINA
40 35 BANGKOK THAILAND