United States

These Are The Top 10 Most Expensive Cities For Overseas Workers

The 2024 Mercer Cost of Living Survey has released the list of the most expensive cities for overseas workers. These cities are known as global financial hubs, home to expatriates from Britain and France working in the finance sector.

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Every year a lot of people move to different countries to work. This relocating for work is usually challenging. But the level of challenge increases when the cost of living in your new city is high.

According to the 2024 Mercer Cost of Living Survey has released the list of cities based on cost of living for expats and Hong Kong has once again been named the most expensive city in the world for overseas workers.

Hong Kong, which also topped the list in 2022 and 2023, is closely followed by Singapore. These cities are known as global financial hubs and are home to many expatriates, particularly from Britain and France, working in the finance sector.

Here are the top 10 most expensive cities for overseas workers in 2024:

1. Hong Kong

2. Singapore

3. Zurich, Switzerland

4. Geneva, Switzerland

5. Basel, Switzerland

6. Bern, Switzerland

7. New York City, USA

8. London, United Kingdom

9. Nassau, Bahamas

10. Los Angeles, USA

The Mercer survey, which analyzed 226 cities, compared the cost of more than 200 items including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment. Housing costs emerged as a significant factor influencing the rankings, as high rents or mortgage payments can significantly reduce disposable income for other expenses.

New York City, ranked 7th, is the highest-ranking US city. London, which was 17th last year, jumped to 8th place. Nassau in the Bahamas secured 9th, while Los Angeles rounded out the top 10.

According to the study, “the cost of housing is a major factor in the Cost of Living City Ranking,.” The study emphasizes that the high housing costs reduce the amount of income available for other expenses. Between 2023 and 2024, rental prices varied significantly across cities, and inflation and exchange-rate fluctuations also impacted international workers' pay and savings.

In Canada, Toronto is the most expensive city for international employees, ranking 92nd, followed by Vancouver at 101. Some cities saw significant jumps, such as Mexico City, which leaped 46 places to 33rd, and Monterrey, which climbed 40 places to 115th.

The cost of living in the US remains a critical issue, with seven American cities in the top 20. Vince Cordova, a partner and mobility advisory leader at Mercer US, suggested in an interview with CNN that inflationary pressures might deter some foreign nationals from accepting positions in high-cost US cities. He advises employers to be transparent about cost of living and net pay information to help prospective staff make informed decisions.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Islamabad in Pakistan and Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria were the least expensive cities, partly due to currency depreciations. Among the 200 products considered in the rankings, olive oil saw the most notable price hike.

“Cost-of-living challenges have had a significant impact on multinational organizations and their employees,” Yvonne Traber, Mercer’s global mobility leader, told the outlet. “It is important for organizations to stay informed about cost-of-living trends and inflation rates and seek input from employees on these issues to effectively manage their effects.”