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These Are The World’s Most Expensive Cities For Expats In 2019

By Kelsey Marie

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Living and working in another country can be both exciting and rewarding — however, some countries can be extremely expensive for expats to live.

Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report just released their list of the most expensive cities to live in, with Asia being the continent with the most places on the list — claiming 8 out of the top 10 places.

The ranking consisted of 209 destinations globally and is based on ticket items reflecting the cost of living for expats.

Items like accommodation fees, prices for a cup of coffee and movie theater prices were all tallied.

The purpose of the survey is to help governments and multinational companies to determine fair salaries for their employees who move abroad to work.

Yvonne Traber, Mercer’s global mobility product solutions leader says, “cost of living is an important component of a city’s attractiveness for business. Decision makers increasingly acknowledge that globalization is challenging cities to inform, innovate and complete to foster the kind of satisfaction that attracts both people and investment — the keys to a city’s future.”


For the second year in a row, Hong Kong has topped the list as the most expensive city for expatriates.

A surprising addition to the list is Ashgabat in Turkmenistan — it rose from 43 last year to seventh this year.

According to CNN, Mercer says “various factors, including current fluctuations, cost of inflation for goods and services and accommodation prices, contribute to the cost of expatriate packages for employees on international assignments.”

Here is a list for 2019 cost of living city ranking:

  1. Hong Kong (China)
  2. Tokyo (Japan)
  3. Singapore
  4. Seoul (South Korea)
  5. Zurich (Switzerland)
  6. Shanghai (China)
  7. Ashgabat (Turkmenistan)
  8. Beijing (China)
  9. New York City (USA)
  10. Shenzhen (China)
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Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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