As Mercer has conducted comprehensive analyses comparing housing, transport, food, clothing and other expenses since 2022, it’s easy to identify cities with high cost of living. Paris, Shanghai and Boston are well-known but more costly cities; visiting these places offers great opportunities to observe architecture, museums, cuisine and culture. If anyone is seeking an exciting vacation or is just curious, take note of Mercer’s list of world’s most expensive cities to live.
1) Geneva, Switzerland
Geneva is well known for the world-famous Jet d’Eau fountain and high-priced restaurants and shops; experts estimate an individual’s average monthly living costs consist of rent, meals, transportation expenses as well as living costs in Geneva is roughly $3,500.
2) Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California Residents in Hollywood must pay an exorbitant sum in order to enjoy a lavish lifestyle. Los Angeles exerts tremendous power over the real estate market as its population of approximately 10 million is heavily influenced by this city. LA also faces expensive taxes for inhabitants as well as an 8.5% sales tax rate which makes living there costly – this rate was nearly double than national standards when renting flats for lease purposes in January 2020.
3) Bangui, Central African Republic
Bangui is located in Central African Republic.
Bangui is a city located in central Africa that has flourished into an important trading centre due to its harbour and links with other nations. Although dwellings may not be cheap, basic services like Internet access, cell phones, furniture and home appliances tend to be significantly more costly than average.
4) Hong Kong, China
A major factor contributing to Hong Kong’s high cost of living is its dense population living in an enclosed space. Rent is just part of it; intense competition for housing units as well as its many attractions such as vibrant markets and lively nightlife contribute significantly.
5) Brussels, Belgium
Brussels, Belgium Its Bruxelles is an ancient and iconic European capital city, as well as being its seat. As its population hub in the Brussels-Capital region, an estimated monthly outlay for four people living here would amount to $3,055.
6) Yokohama, Japan
Yokohama is one of the world’s most expensive cities with residents spending on average an estimated monthly living expense budget of $1,4886. Visitors come here for attractions like Sankeien Gardens and Yokohama Landmark Tower Sky Garden; also, food is widely available and bar hopping costs an estimated daily amount of around $112.
7) Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is an extremely dynamic city which consistently ranks among the most costly in the world. Not only must its inhabitants pay expensive rents but they must also incur costs associated with owning cars and using public transit – Japan being known for having high living costs overall.
8) Milan, Italy
Milan is an economic powerhouse and one of Europe’s 10 priciest cities to live in due to its fashion industry prominence and excellent medical care facilities, making it a profitable area to live. Furthermore, due to its stellar safety record and tourist appeal, this city ranks highly on lists for quality of living standards as well as cost of living costs.
9) Singapore, Singapore
Singapore, Singapore Since 2014, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey has consistently placed Singapore at the top of its price rankings for cost of living. Due to limited land resources and low population densities in Singapore, real estate markets there remain highly competitive. Since this island nation does not possess natural resources of its own, Singapore relies heavily on importation of water as well as natural gas from neighbouring ports in order to produce electricity.
10) Brussels, Belgium
Bruxelles, Belgium Brussels is known for its rich past and hosting European Union activities, making it the most populous city in the Brussels-Capital area and costing approximately $3,055 for a family of four in monthly living costs, not including rent.
11) Atlanta, Georgia
According to GoBankingRates’ report on Atlanta, Georgia, for a comfortable standard of living it requires at least an annual income of $121,170 in order to afford necessities like housing and transportation that have increased by an estimated 5% compared to national average costs.
12) Libreville, Gabon
Libreville is known for its educational offerings such as libraries and research centers as well as its prestigious university. Unfortunately, living costs in Libreville can be considerably costly due to increased competition for limited resources.
13) Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois A survey conducted by GOBankingRates has determined that Chicago’s cost of living exceeds that of other U.S. cities. Tourists visiting can explore Chicago Riverwalk, Navy Pier, Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville Stadium while enjoying delicious deep-dish pizza! Average rent starts at approximately $1826 monthly while River North and Streeterville often require at least $2,500 rent payments monthly.
14) The Hague, Netherlands
Tourists looking to experience The Hague must spend around $149 each day (excluding costs for accommodation and transport ). Locals agree that the experience is worth every cent as The Hague is a wonderful location for both living and vacationing with its mix of Dutch institutions, art galleries, factories, parks and much more to offer visitors.
15) Copenhagen, Denmark
While Copenhagen may charm visitors with its breathtaking architecture and scenery, it can also be expensive due to high taxes and fees. A typical monthly cost for living there may reach $1,000 beyond rent alone while travelers typically spend anywhere from $108-205 daily when travelling here.
16) Miami, Florida
Taxation levels remain at an all-time high in Miami with levies on real estate among the highest in the US and housing costs being 40% above national median levels. Property ownership can be difficult without an abundance of funds; thus the expenses associated with housing being 40% greater.
17) Osaka, Japan
Although Osaka can be costly to live in, the minimum wage in Japan is comparatively high, which helps ease some of the increasing cost of dwelling. A visit to Osaka should be high on any traveler’s list as it offers all of the charm of Times Square combined with a relaxing canal cruise on Dotonbori Canal.
18) Victoria, Seychelles
Victoria, Seychelles Victoria makes for the ideal escape for those looking to take a break from daily routine. Mahe is home to turtles, orchids and many other species, while rental, utility and service costs in Seychelles can be quite pricey due to the island country’s location near East Africa – yet its magnificent panorama, balmy climate and wealth of activities may make up for these fees and charges.
19) Munich, Germany
Due to an extremely competitive real estate market, Munich is considered one of Europe’s costliest cities, and renting for one individual would likely cost close to $1,000 monthly on rent alone – not including utilities, transport and health insurance costs.
20) Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates consists of seven different states, with Dubai being its most well-known. Dubai is a bustling commercial center and cosmopolitan metropolis known for its nightlife; however, due to being an important financial center it can be quite costly; for a family of four in Dubai covering expenses related to healthcare, education, transportation, travel and rent this could cost around $3,000 monthly.
21) Nagoya, Japan
Living in Nagoya can be expensive; in particular rent. Families of four should expect to spend approximately $3,172 each month while rent can range between $357 and $731 per month. With its stunning skyline and automotive industry led by Toyota and Mitsubishi factories driving costs even further upward, living there can become very costly indeed.
22) Nassau, Bahamas
Nassau is the main city of the Bahamas and features numerous tourist-oriented sites for visitors to enjoy, including its Straw Market and National Art Gallery as well as Atlantis Paradise Island, Blue Lagoon Island, Ardastra Garden & Wildlife Conservation Centre and Ardastra Garden & Wildlife Conservation Centre. A single person may incur expenses totalling as much as $1,055 not including lodging expenses while families of four could face spending up to $4,625 as rent each month, not including bills.
23) Paris, France
Paris is famed for its exquisite architecture, culinary culture and fashion scene – as such the cost of living can be extremely high due to rising residential and retail property demand; making it difficult for many families to afford an adequate place to call home.
24) Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Luxembourg City and County: Luxembourg incadres in the top two percent of luxurious residential regions worldwide, making it renowned as an affluent municipality and being second wealthiest nation globally. Furthermore, this beautiful country is known for producing quality wine as well as its subterranean tunnels that run under it and its many financial and banking firms that reside here.
25) Busan, South Korea
Busan, South Korea Busan lies along the Yellow Sea and is South Korea’s second most populous city after Seoul. A popular tourist destination, Busan offers picturesque beaches, majestic mountains, stunning temples and low criminality rates while still maintaining an inviting, friendly environment.
26) Dublin, Ireland
A 2020 survey conducted by The Economist revealed Dublin to be one of the most expensive cities to live in across Europe. Dublin is well known for its lively pubs and tourist spots such as Jameson Distillery, St Patrick’s Cathedral, and Spire of Dublin – as well as being rich in culture with castles, forests, and mountainous areas located just beyond its boundaries – all contributing factors towards making living there costly; with an average house costing approximately $2000 per month.
27) Shenyang, China
Shenyang, China Situated in Liaoning province and home to nearly 9 million individuals, Shenyang is an extremely dense city that experiences rapid population growth. As one of China’s key centers of industry and commerce, living costs such as rent, food, utilities, etc are extremely expensive in Shenyang.
28) Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington According to a 2016 study, it takes an annual salary of $72,092 in Seattle in order to live comfortably. This city on Puget Sound famous for its Space Needle boasts one of the highest living costs in America due to high sales tax rates and the presence of many businesses – particularly tech companies which has caused housing prices to skyrocket significantly.
29) Berlin, Germany
Although Berlin boasts high living costs, it remains the most cost-effective capital city in Western Europe to live. Home prices remain affordable while basic expenses have increased, helping prevent living costs from increasing over time. People from around the globe continue to prefer Berlin due to its lively nightlife and delicious dining establishments despite an average rent costing about $1,393 monthly.
30) Guangzhou, China
Guangzhou, China Sixty percent of the 500 most powerful companies worldwide have made investments in Guangzhou – making it China’s third most populated city after Beijing and Shanghai. Furthermore, it hosts the Canton Fair which is one of the oldest trade shows held annually in China.
31) Zürich, Switzerland
Zurich, Switzerland When visiting Zurich it becomes easily understandable why it has earned such a hefty reputation as a costly city. Situated along Lake Zurich and offering attractive walkways along its shores as well as world-class shopping and delicious chocolate to name just some amenities, living here may cost roughly two thousand dollars each month on rent alone.
32) San Francisco, California
As rents on the West Coast can often be prohibitively expensive, it comes as no surprise that nine individuals lived at Tanner family’s residence in San Francisco during the 90s in Full House filmed there. Since the start of 2021 house prices in San Francisco have seen an increase of 10% with average house costs now hovering around $1.5 million – meaning tenants needing financial relief must earn an annual wage of at least $100,000 just to afford living there comfortably.
33) Vienna, Austria
In 2018, the Economist Intelligence Unit conducted a global study to identify the ideal place for its residents. Their research indicated Vienna as Austria’s capital city – known for its rich culture including art, architecture and music as well as excellent educational opportunities and quality of life. Cost of living estimates in Vienna in 2018 stood at $866.85; however with so many people moving there over recent years the real estate market is becoming highly competitive.
34) Shenzhen, China
The city of Shenzhen is vibrant and alive with young adults; its average citizen age stands at 32.1, making it one of the youngest cities in China. Although accommodations and meals may be costly, utilities and web services tend to be more economical options.
35) Kinshasa,The Democratic Republic Of The Congo
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo is home to approximately 17 million people; 72% live on less than $1.90 a day. Traffic jams often increase rent prices – thus leaving only those with the means and foreign nationals the financial capacity for renting apartments in Kinshasa.
36) London, England
London, England Living and doing business in London are costly. Limited access to goods and storage charges often force residents and business owners alike to spend extra money to obtain essential supplies.
37) Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam, Netherlands Amsterdam is an incredible melting pot of culture and history, known for its charming canals, distinctive architecture, vibrant nightlife and art galleries. As one of Europe’s ten most expensive cities to live in, an average family of four needs an income of an estimated $4,800 each month in order to live comfortably.
38) Djibouti, Djibouti
Djibouti has experienced an increase in poverty, driving up its cost of living. It is now one of the most expensive countries in Africa due to high spending on goods and services; even so, average spending per person is about $554 which is far lower than global norms.
39) Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates consists of seven individual emirates, with Dubai being the best-known. This bustling economic hub plays an essential role in world business and boasts an amazing nightlife scene; yet due to its financial activities living there can be prohibitively costly for families of four; they would need approximately $3,000 a month just in basic expenses such as healthcare, education, transport and travel in addition to rent payments alone.
40) Shenyang, China
Shenyang is the capital of Liaoning province in China and boasts almost 9 million inhabitants. As it serves as an important center of industry, commerce, and trade activities; cost of living expenses including rent, food, utilities etc are often prohibitively high here.
41) Kinshasa,The Democratic Republic Of The Congo
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital city and home to nearly 17 million individuals, often begins at $20,000 annually for apartment leases, an exorbitant sum in a country where 72% of inhabitants make less than $1.90 daily. Traffic jams further raise rental costs – only those with significant wealth or non-residents typically possessing sufficient financial means can rent accommodation there.
42) Singapore, Singapore
Singapore, Singapore According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey, Singapore was once again named as the most expensive city worldwide from 2014 through 2020. Due to limited space and scarce land availability, real estate prices in Singapore have become extremely competitive over this time. Furthermore, with no natural resources at its disposal other than ports for accessing water supply and natural gas used as power generation sources; Singapore relies heavily on ports to access water resources while using natural gas generated power as its sole energy source.
43) Lagos, Nigeria
While Lagos may have fallen from 19th most expensive city to 55th most expensive city status in 2018, it still ranks 5th worldwide and serves as a key port of entry into Nigeria as well as being home to movie and music industries. Still, residential space remains quite expensive due to an enormous population and limited land supply making purchasing any property at a competitive rate more challenging.
44) Nagoya, Japan
Living costs can be high in Nagoya without considering rent. A family with four members would require spending an estimated monthly cost of $3,172; rent typically ranges between $357 and $731. Known for its towering cityscape as well as car manufacturing plants like Toyota and Mitsubishi plants that make living there even more costly.
45) Milan, Italy
Milan, Italy Milan is an influential player in the global fashion industry and commercial hub, making it financially prosperous. Due to its outstanding safety record, exceptional medical facilities, and tourist appeal, this city ranks among Europe’s 10 costliest places for living – making Milan one of the costliest places to live.
46) Nassau, Bahamas
Nassau, Bahamas Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas and an increasingly popular tourist destination, featuring attractions such as the Nassau Straw Market, National Art Gallery, Atlantis Paradise Island Blue Lagoon Island and Ardastra Garden & Wildlife Conservation Centre. A visit for one person could cost anywhere up to $1055 before accommodation costs; families of four may incur up to $4,625 monthly rent costs plus utility charges alone.
47) Basel, Switzerland
Every June, Basel – an iconic college town near France and Germany’s borders in Switzerland – hosts one of the year’s most important art exhibitions. You can live here comfortably for approximately $3000 monthly with its historical buildings, modern designs, vibrant arts scene, and lively nightlife scene.
48) Busan, South Korea
city in South Korea and draws tourists for its beautiful beaches, mountains and temples near Yellow Sea. Additionally, this vibrant metropolis stands out due to its low rate of crime and welcoming atmosphere.
49) New York City, New York
Leasing prices have experienced a steep increase, with one-year agreements rising by an astounding 3.25% and two-year contracts increasing by at least 5% – this marks one of the sharpest surges seen since 2009. Furthermore, rents reached all-time highs between May and June 2022: $4,000 and $5,000 respectively.
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