Lonely Planet Writer

The ten most expensive cities in the world for living and working abroad have just been revealed

A new study has revealed the ten costliest cities in the world for expats living and working abroad in 2017. The results come from the 23rd annual Cost of Living Survey taken by Mercer, a human resource consulting firm, and show African, Asian and European cities dominating the list. Variable factors that lead to a change in ranking year to year include the instability of housing markets around the world and the inflation for goods and services in different destinations.

The survey is one of the most comprehensive in the world, designed to help companies and governments determine compensation allowances for expatriate employees. It uses New York as a base city, with all currency movements being measured against the US dollar. The results include over 400 cities across five continents, and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including food, housing, transportation, clothing and household goods.

1. Luanda

Launda bay in Angola, Southern Africa
Luanda in Angola, Southern Africa took the top spot in the survey. Image by Angola Image Bank™ | Kodilu, Lda./500px

Driven by the cost of goods and security, the capital city of Angola in southern Africa tops the list for most expensive cities for expats to live and work in in 2017.

2. Hong Kong

The Hong Kong skyline beyond Victoria Harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui.
The Hong Kong skyline beyond Victoria Harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui. Image by Ronnie Chua/Shutterstock

Five of the top ten cities in this year’s ranking are in Asia, with Hong Kong taking second place as a result of its currency’s close relationship to the US dollar.

3. Tokyo

Shinjuku at night in Tokyo, Japan.
Shinjuku at night in Tokyo, Japan. Image by Jormungand/500px

Japan’s bustling metropolis is high on the list due to the strengthening of the yen along with a higher cost of consumer goods and a dynamic housing market.

4. Zurich

A sunset in Zurich
Zurich is a famous destination for global business and finance. Image by Rudy Balasko/Shutterstock

The famous Swiss centre of banking and finance came in as the most expensive European city on the list.

5. Singapore

Lau Pa Sat in Singapore.
Lau Pa Sat in Singapore. Image by Ria de Jong/Lonely Planet

6. Seoul

The Seoul cityscape at sunset
The downtown Seoul City Skyline during sunset. Image by Mlenny/Getty Images

7. Geneva

A yellow water taxi on the shoreline of Geneva.
A yellow water taxi on the shoreline of Geneva. Image by Allan Baxter/Getty Images

Geneva, along with two other Swiss cities made it into the top ten list for 2017.

8. Shanghai

Shanghai Lujiazui skyline before sunrise.
Shanghai Lujiazui skyline before sunrise. Image by Danny Hu/Getty Images

9. New York City

The Manhattan skyline at sunset in New York City.
The Manhattan skyline at sunset in New York City. Image by pisaphotography/Shutterstock

New York was used as the base city for the entire survey, and is the only North American city to be included in the top ten.

10. Bern

Bern in Switzerland
The city of Bern makes up the third Swiss location on the list. Image by Mark Weston / CC BY 2.0

According to the survey, the world’s least expensive cities for expats in 2017 are Tunis in Tunisia, Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan and Skopje in the Republic of Macedonia.