Most Expensive Cities to Live In for 2011

According to Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey for 2011, Toronto is Canada’s most expensive city to live in, making its way to #59 in the survey. Other Canadian cities that made rankings in the survey were Vancouver at #65, Montreal at #79, Calgary at #96, and Ottawa at #114.

The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. It is the world’s most comprehensive cost of living survey and is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees. New York is used as the base city and all cities are compared against New York. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar. The cost of housing – often the biggest expense for expatriates – plays an important part in determining where cities are ranked.

Two main factors determine a city’s ranking in Mercer’s Cost of Living survey:

1.the relative strength or weakness of the relevant currency against the US dollar over the prior 12 months; and

2.price movements over the prior 12 months compared to those in New York City as the base.  If prices increase more in a surveyed city than in New York City, the cost of living there becomes more expensive, so that city will go up in the ranking.

Despite flat currency fluctuation and small price movements, cities’ ranks can change based on the movement of other cities in the ranking.

Here are the Top 20 Most Expensive Cities (according to the 2011 Mercer Cost of Living Survey:
1. Luanda, Angola
2. Tokyo, Japan
3. N’Djamena, Chad
4. Moscow, Russia
5. Geneva, Switzerland
6. Osaka, Japan
7. Zurich, Switzerland
8. Singapore, Singapore
9. Hong Kong, Hong Kong
10. São Paulo, Brazil
11. Nagoya, Japan
12. Libreville, Gabon (tie for 12th)
13. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (tie for 12th)
14. Sydney, Australia
15. Oslo, Norway
16. Bern, Switzerland
17. Copenhagen, Denmark
18. London, United Kingdom
19. Seoul, South Korea
20. Beijing, China

To view the list of top 50 cities, click here.
To view the Mercer Cost of Living Survey homepage, click here.


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