World’s cheapest and most expensive cities revealed

Four out of five of the world’s most expensive cities for expatriates are in Asia

If you plan to move to Hong Kong, prepare yourself for a city truly challenging for your pocket.

After ranking the second position last year, Hing Kong was named the most expensive city for 2018 — Shutterstock World’s cheapest and most expensive cities
After ranking the second position last year, Hing Kong was named the most expensive city for 2018 — Shutterstock


In March 2018, Mercer, a provider of data on cost of living and housing for employees sent to work abroad, conducted an annual survey comparing the cost of living and rental accommodation cost from which they concluded a ranking with cities across the globe.

And this year, Hong Kong topped the list as world’s most expensive city for emigrants to live in. Last year, in comparison, Hong Kong ranked second after Luanda in Angola. Asia has been on a real price rise in general with four out five most of the most costly being on the continent.

“Stronger Chinese monetary regulation, a flourishing economy and a push to have the Chinese Yuan as an international currency pushed Chinese cities up in the ranking,” said Yvonne Traber, global mobility product solutions leader at Mercer.

“However, significant surges in other locations worldwide caused Japanese cities, Osaka and Nagoya in particular, to fall in this year’s ranking.”

Slipping down 86 position, Uzbekistan's capital of Tashkent is the cheapest  city to live in — Marina Rich / Shutterstock World’s cheapest and most expensive cities
Slipping down 86 position, Uzbekistan’s capital of Tashkent is the cheapest city to live in — Marina Rich / Shutterstock


Asian cities managed to leap past European cities, such as Oslo or Copenhagen, that took were in the top 10 last year.

Meanwhile, the United States are showing an opposite trend than China.

“Cities in the United States have dropped in the ranking due to a steady pickup of the European economy, which triggered a decline of the US dollar against other major currencies worldwide. New York dropped four places to rank 13, the highest-ranked city in the region,” the report says.

Last year’s winner, Luanda, dropped to 6th because of a downward trend in the city’s housing market.

Switzerland was the only European country included in the top 10 most expensive countries ranking with Zurich being 3rd and Bern 10th — Shutterstock World’s cheapest and most expensive cities
Switzerland was the only European country included in the top 10 most expensive countries ranking with Zurich being 3rd and Bern 10th — Shutterstock


In Europe, the most costly cities are in Switzerland with Zurich being third in the global ranking and Bern in the 10th spot.

The cheapest city in the world, on the other hand, is Tashkent in Uzbekistan that slipped 86 positions from last year. Second and third least expensive destinations for expatriates are Tunis and Bishkek.

Top 10 cheapest cities for 2018

  1. Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  2. Tunis, Tunisia
  3. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  4. Banjul, Gambia
  5. Karachi, Pakistan
  6. Blantyre, Malawi,
  7. Tbilisi, Georgia
  8. Minsk, Belarus
  9. Tegucigalpa, Honduras,
  10. Managua, Nicaragua

Top 10 most expensive cities for 2018

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Tokyo, Japan
  3. Zurich, Switzerland
  4. Singapore, Singapore
  5. Seoul, South Korea
  6. Luanda, Angola
  7. Shanghai, China
  8. Ndjamena, Chad
  9. Beijing, China
  10. Bern, Switzerland