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International Cost of Living Ranking - January 2011

Tokyo is the costliest city in the world in which to live as at January 2011.

Tokyo is the most expensive city in the world in which to live, out of 300 global locations, surveyed as at January 2011. While Tokyo is average in terms of the cost of items such as education (ranked 144) and alcohol & tobacco (ranked 138), it is the most expensive place in the world for groceries, healthcare, and household accommodation costs. As the most expensive city in the world, Tokyo has an overall cost of living index of 158.4 (New York = 100). In comparison to the next 3 cities to host the FIFA Soccer World Cup (SWC) Tokyo is 38% more expensive than Rio de Janeiro (SWC 2014), 36% more expensive than Moscow (SWC 2018), and 65% more expensive than Doha (SWC 2022). That means that an expatriate earning USD$5,000 per month in Doha would need to earn USD$8,250 per month in Tokyo to enable them to have the same purchasing power, and therefore a similar standard of living as they had in Doha. The cost of living for an expatriate is affected by both the availability and prices, of goods and services representative of an expatriate lifestyle, local inflation, and the exchange rate between the home and host country. As a result the cost of living has a significant impact on an expatriate’s salary package.

Caracas is the second most expensive city to live in. Caracas is most expensive place in the world for furniture and appliances, alcohol & tobacco, recreation and culture, hotels restaurants and meals out. Caracas is the second most expensive place for groceries and healthcare.

Hong Kong is the third most expensive city in the world for expatriates to live in. The high overall cost of living rank for Hong Kong is primarily a result of two expensive basket groups. Hong Kong is the fourth most expensive city in the world for healthcare, and is the second most expensive city in the world for household accommodation, which typically comprises 30% of an expatriate’s expenses. Hong Kong is a good example of why many international organizations compensate separately for healthcare as well as household related costs such as housing rental, water, electricity, household gas, household fuels, local rates and residential taxes. Items that are provided by the employer should be excluded from a cost of living index calculation. The cost of living index for Hong Kong excluding healthcare and household related costs is substantially lower than it’s overall cost of living index of 129.4. Hong Kong is relatively cheap for recreation & culture (ranked 241 in the world), education (ranked 259 in the world), as well as furniture & appliances (ranked 268 in the world).

Geneva, the fourth most expensive city, is particularly expensive for recreation & culture as well as groceries.

Osaka, ranked fith, is most expensive for household accommodation (ranked 3 in the world), healthcare (ranked 5 in the world) and groceries (ranked 6 in the world).

Asia-Pacific has 4 of the 10 most expensive cities in the world. Tokyo is first and Hong Kong the third most expensive location in the world (and most expensive in greater China), whilst Osaka is the third most expensive city in Asia-Pacific (ranked 5 in the world), followed by Nagoya (ranked 9 in the world).

Cities in mainland China remain relatively cheap, mainly due to the pegging of the Chinese Yuan to the US Dollar which has kept costs down. Within mainland China, Shanghai (ranked 19 in the world), and Beijing (ranked 126 in the world) are the most expensive locations. The cheapest city surveyed in China is Tianjin (ranked 284) with a cost of living index of just 61.4. The cheapest city in Asia-Pacific is Nuku’Alofa in Tonga (ranked 299) with a cost of living index of 53.1.

Most expensive cities in Asia-Pacific (Global rank in brackets)
1. Japan, Tokyo (1)
2. China, Hong Kong (3)
3. Japan, Osaka (5)
4. Japan, Nagoya (9)
5. Japan, Yokohama (13)
6. Australia, Sydney (17)
7. China, Shanghai (19)
8. Australia, Canberra (20)
9. Kiribati, South Tarawa (23)
10.Singapore (26)

South Asia is the least expensive region in the world for expatriates to live in. The most expensive city surveyed is Mumbai (ranked 109 in the world), followed by New Delhi (ranked 136), and Chennai (ranked 139). The cheapest city in South Asia is Thimphu in Bhutan (ranked 297).

Most expensive cities in South Asia (Global rank in brackets)
1. India, Mumbai (109)
2. India, New Delhi (136)
3. India, Chennai (139)
4. India, Calcutta (141)
5. Maldives, Male (147)
6. India, Hyderabad (149)
7. India, Bangalore (167)
8. Afghanistan, Kabul (208)
9. Bangladesh, Dhaka (263)
10.Pakistan, Lahore 278)

Europe’s most expensive cities are mostly those that are not on the Euro. The most expensive city in Europe is Geneva (ranked 4 in the world), followed by Zurich (ranked 6), making Switzerland the most expensive country in Europe. Zurich is followed by Oslo (ranked 8). Moscow is the world's 10th most expensive city (4th in Europe) followed by Vaduz in Liechtenstein. The cheapest city in Europe is Tirana in Albania (ranked 283 in the world) with a cost of living index of 61.7.

Most expensive cities in Europe (Global rank in brackets)
1. Switzerland, Geneva (4)
2. Switzerland, Zurich (6)
3. Norway, Oslo (8)
4. Russia, Moscow (10)
5. Liechtenstein, Vaduz (12)
6. Denmark, Copenhagen (14)
7. United Kingdom, London (16)
8. France, Paris (21)
9. Monaco, Monaco (22)
10.Jersey, Saint Helier (24)

The Middle East's most expensive city is Abu Dhabi (ranked 27 in the world), followed by Doha (ranked 49), and Bahrain (ranked 87). Dubai is the fourth most expensive city in the Middle East (ranked 89 in the world) with a cost of living index of 89.7. The cheapest city surveyed in the Middle East (and cheapest in the world) is Sanaa in Yemen (ranked 300 in the world) with a cost of living index of 49.7, half that of New York which has a cost of living index of 100.

Most expensive cities in the Middle East (Global rank in brackets)
1. United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi (27)
2. Qatar, Doha (49)
3. Bahrain, Manama (87)
4. United Arab Emirates, Dubai (89)
5. Israel, Jerusalem (102)
6. Lebanon, Beirut (138)
7. Palestinian Territories, West Bank (152)
8. Kuwait, Kuwait City (156)
9. Syria, Damascus (165)
10.Iran, Tehran (170)

The Americas most expensive city is Caracas, which is the world’s second most expensive city to live in for expatriates.

Brazil has 3 of the 4 most expensive cities in the Americas. Sao Paulo (ranked 7 in the world), Rio de Janeiro (ranked 11) are followed by Brasilia (ranked 15). Nassau (ranked 25) is the fifth most expensive city, while New York (ranked 33) is the sixth most expensive city in the America’s and most expensive in the United States of America. The cheapest city to live in the Americas is La Paz in Bolivia (ranked 294 in the world). The cheapest city surveyed in the United States of America is Indianapolis Ind (ranked 285 in the world).

Most expensive cities in the Americas (Global rank in brackets)
1. Venezuela, Caracas (2)
2. Brazil, Sao Paulo (7)
3. Brazil, Rio de Janeiro (11)
4. Brazil, Brasilia (15)
5. Bahamas, Nassau (25)
6. USA, New York NY (33)
7. Canada, Toronto (37)
8. Falkland Islands, Stanley (42)
9. Trinidad and Tobago, Port-of-Spain (47)
10.Canada, Vancouver (54)


Figures used in this report were taken from Xpatulator.com’s cost of living database as at 1 January 2011. The above ranks are based on the overall cost of living index using all 13 basket groups with New York as the base city (Cost of living index = 100).


About Xpatulator.com’s Cost of Living Data
Xpatulator.com’s cost of living data is based on prices for the same quantity and quality of goods and services, representative of expatriate lifestyle, in each city. The data is collected and updated on a quarterly basis. The cost of living data is used by Xpatulator.com clients to calculate salary purchasing power parity, cost of living allowances, and customized (i.e. clients can select their own base city) cost of living indexes for expatriate assignments online, using Xpatulator.com’s 3 premium content calculators.


The 13 basket groups do not count equally and are weighted according to expatriate expenditure norms as follows (weighting percentage is in brackets):


1. Alcohol & Tobacco (2%): Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.
2. Clothing (2.5%): Clothing and footwear products.
3. Communication (2%): Telephone, Internet, Mobile Contract and Calls.
4. Education (5%): Creche Fees, School Fees, College Fees, and Tertiary Study Fees.
5. Furniture & Appliances (5%): Furniture, household equipment and appliances.
6. Groceries (16.5%): Food, non-alcoholic beverages and cleaning materials.
7. Healthcare (5%): Doctor Consultation rates, Private Ward Rate, Prescription Medicine, and Private Medical Insurance Contributions.
8. Household (30%): Housing rental, utilities, local rates and residential taxes.
9. Miscellaneous (3%): Stationary, Linen and general goods and services.
10. Personal Care (3%): Personal Care products and services.
11. Recreation & Culture (6%): Books, Camera Film, Cinema Ticket, DVD and CD’s, Sports goods, Theatre Tickets.
12. Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels (2%): Dinner at Restaurant (non fast food), Hotel Rates, Take Away, Drinks & Snacks (fast Food).
13. Transport (18%): Public Transport, Vehicle Costs, Vehicle Fuel, Vehicle Insurance and Vehicle Maintenance.


About Xpatulator.com
Xpatulator.com is the most comprehensive source of international cost of living information. We provide free international cost of living overviews and rank information covering 13 cost of living baskets and 300 global locations as well as 3 premium content calculators.

Founded in 2007, Xpatulator.com’s mission is to organize the world’s cost of living indices, exchange rates and relative hardship indices and make it accessible and useful to all.


Premium Content Calculators: 


Salary Purchasing Power Parity Calculator (SPPP)Download Demo SPPP Report

The SPPP report calculates how much you need to earn in another location to compensate for a higher cost of living, hardship, and the exchange rate, in order to have the same relative spending power and as a result have a similar standard of living as you have in your current location. Each new SPPP report uses 1 credit ($99). Recommended for a detailed comparison of 2 locations.


Cost of Living Allowance Calculator (COLA)Download Demo COLA Report

The COLA report calculates how much additional allowance (over and above your current salary) you need to earn in another location to compensate for a higher cost of living, hardship and the exchange rate, in order to have the same relative spending power and as a result have a similar standard of living as you have in your current location. Each new COLA report uses 1 credit ($99). Recommended for calculation of a cost of living allowance for short-term assignments.


Cost of Living Index Calculator (COLI) :  Download Demo COLI Report


The COLI report calculates cost of living indexes for the host locations you select, using the home location you specify. You can choose from any one of the 13 baskets or you can choose the overall cost of living index.  Each new COLI report uses 1 credit ($99) allowing you to choose 1 home location and up to 281 available host locations. Recommended for the calculation of 3 or more cost of living indexes using your choice of base city.


1 credit costs $99. Register, buy credits online and you can run the premium content calculators and receive your reports online within minutes.


For any queries: steven@xpatulator.com


The full January 2011 list of all 300 international locations using all 13 basket groups is as follows:


January 2011 Rank Country, City

1 Japan, Tokyo
2 Venezuela, Caracas
3 China, Hong Kong
4 Switzerland, Geneva
5 Japan, Osaka
6 Switzerland, Zurich
7 Brazil, Sao Paulo
8 Norway, Oslo
9 Japan, Nagoya
10 Russia, Moscow
11 Brazil, Rio de Janeiro
12 Liechtenstein, Vaduz
13 Japan, Yokohama
14 Denmark, Copenhagen
15 Brazil, Brasilia
16 United Kingdom, London
17 Australia, Sydney
18 Angola, Luanda
19 China, Shanghai
20 Australia, Canberra
21 France, Paris
22 Monaco, Monaco
23 Kiribati, South Tarawa
24 Jersey, Saint Helier
25 Bahamas, Nassau
26 Singapore, Singapore
27 United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi
28 Korea Republic of, Seoul
29 Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby
30 Australia, Melbourne
31 Guernsey, St Peter Port
32 Australia, Perth
33 USA, New York NY
34 Vanuatu, Port Vila
35 United Kingdom, Glasgow
36 Isle of Man, Douglas
37 Canada, Toronto
38 Germany, Munich
39 Austria, Vienna
40 Finland, Helsinki
41 Gabon, Libreville
42 Falkland Islands, Stanley
43 Russia, St. Petersburg
44 Italy, Milan
45 United Kingdom, Birmingham
46 Germany, Frankfurt
47 Trinidad and Tobago, Port-of-Spain
48 Nigeria, Lagos
49 Qatar, Doha
50 United Kingdom, Leeds
51 Italy, Rome
52 Saint Helena, Jamestown
53 New Caledonia, Noumea
54 Canada, Vancouver
55 Germany, Cologne
56 Croatia, Zagreb
57 Central African Republic, Bangui
58 Solomon Islands, Honiara
59 Mali, Bamako
60 Micronesia, Palikir
61 Australia, Brisbane
62 Belgium, Brussels
63 Bermuda, Hamilton
64 Chad, NDjamena
65 Taiwan, Taipei
66 Canada, Calgary
67 Cote DIvoire, Abidjan
68 San Marino, San Marino
69 Germany, Hamburg
70 Azerbaijan, Baku
71 United Kingdom, Belfast
72 Slovakia, Bratislava
73 Iceland, Reykjavik
74 Luxembourg, Luxembourg
75 Netherlands, Amsterdam
76 Ireland, Dublin
77 Sweden, Stockholm
78 Germany, Berlin
79 Germany, Bonn
80 Czech Republic, Prague
81 Canada, Montreal
82 Estonia, Tallinn
83 Turkey, Istanbul
84 Congo Democratic Rep, Kinshasa
85 New Zealand, Auckland
86 Cayman Islands, George Town
87 Bahrain, Manama
88 Indonesia, Jakarta
89 United Arab Emirates, Dubai
90 Cameroon, Douala
91 Spain, Madrid
92 Australia, Adelaide
93 Colombia, Bogota
94 France, Lyon
95 USA, San Francisco Calif
96 USA, Boston Mass
97 Vatican City, Vatican City
98 Sudan, Khartoum
99 Cameroon, Yaounde
100 Jamaica, Kingston
101 Sierra Leone, Freetown
102 Israel, Jerusalem
103 USA, Washington DC
104 Cook Islands, Avarua
105 Spain, Barcelona
106 USA, San Jose Calif
107 Kazakhstan, Almaty
108 France, Marseille
109 India, Mumbai
110 Canada, Ottawa
111 Sao Tome and Principe, Sao Tome
112 Samoa, Apia
113 Greenland, Nuuk
114 Djibouti, Djibouti
115 Martinique, Fort-de-France
116 Turkey, Ankara
117 Guinea-Bissau, Bissau
118 Nauru, Yaren
119 Malta, Velletta
120 USA, Anchorage AK
121 USA, Philadelphia Pa
122 Barbados, Bridgetown
123 Portugal, Lisbon
124 Hungary, Budapest
125 Zambia, Lusaka
126 China, Beijing
127 Liberia, Monrovia
128 Puerto Rico, San Juan
129 Chile, Santiago
130 Congo, Brazzaville
131 Marshall Islands, Majuro
132 South Africa, Johannesburg
133 Togo, Lome
134 Comores, Moroni
135 Turkmenistan, Ashgabat
136 India, New Delhi
137 Guam, Hagatna
138 Lebanon, Beirut
139 India, Chennai
140 Ghana, Accra
141 India, Calcutta
142 Tuvalu, Funafuti
143 USA, Los Angeles Calif
144 Cape Verde, Praia
145 Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou
146 Greece, Athens
147 Maldives, Male
148 Guadeloupe, Basse-Terre
149 India, Hyderabad
150 Senegal, Dakar
151 Andorra, Andorra la Vella
152 Palestinian Territories, West Bank
153 Uruguay, Montevideo
154 Rwanda, Kigali
155 USA, San Diego Calif
156 Kuwait, Kuwait City
157 Peru, Lima
158 Montenegro, Podgorica
159 USA, Chicago Ill
160 Brunei, Bandar Seri Begawan
161 USA, Portland Ore
162 Malawi, Lilongwe
163 Ukraine, Kiev
164 French Polynesia, Papeete
165 Syria, Damascus
166 Lithuania, Vilnius
167 India, Bangalore
168 Poland, Warsaw
169 South Africa, Pretoria
170 Iran, Tehran
171 South Africa, Cape Town
172 USA, Baltimore Md
173 Tanzania, Dar es Salaam
174 Namibia, Windhoek
175 USA, Seattle Wash
176 Georgia Republic of, Tbilisi
177 Philippines, Manila
178 Timor-Leste, Dili
179 USA, Miami Fla
180 Mexico, Mexico City
181 Thailand, Bangkok
182 Fiji, Suva
183 Gibraltar, Gibraltar
184 Benin, Cotonou
185 Cyprus, Nicosia
186 Armenia, Yerevan
187 Guinea, Conakry
188 South Africa, Durban
189 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Kingstown
190 Saudi Arabia, Riyadh
191 Gambia, Banjul
192 Guatemala, Guatemala City
193 Somalia, Mogadishu
194 Egypt, Cairo
195 Niger, Niamey
196 USA, Phoenix Ariz
197 Grenada, Saint Georges
198 Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
199 Cuba, Havana
200 Guyana, Georgetown
201 Haiti, Port-au-Prince
202 Slovenia, Ljubljana
203 Serbia, Belgrade
204 USA, Las Vegas Nev
205 Jordan, Amman
206 Costa Rica, San Jose
207 Latvia, Riga
208 Afghanistan, Kabul
209 Madagascar, Antananarivo
210 Swaziland, Mbabane
211 USA, Detroit Mich
212 Mauritius, Port Louis
213 Palau, Melekeok
214 Belarus, Minsk
215 USA, Denver Colo
216 Panama, Panama City
217 Eritrea, Asmara
218 Saint Kitts and Nevis, Basseterre
219 Northern Mariana Islands, Saipan
220 USA, Cleveland Ohio
221 Algeria, Algiers
222 Seychelles, Victoria
223 Dominica, Roseau
224 Oman, Muscat
225 USA, Atlanta GA
226 Botswana, Gaborone
227 Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Johns
228 Iraq, Baghdad
229 USA, Charlotte NC
230 Equatorial Guinea, Malabo
231 French Guiana, Cayenne
232 Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo
233 Moldova, Chisinau
234 USA, Jacksonville Fla
235 China, Wuhan
236 China, Shenzhen
237 USA, Milwaukee Wis
238 USA, Pittsburgh Penn
239 USA, Tampa Fla
240 Macedonia, Skopje
241 Vietnam, Hanoi
242 Saudi Arabia, Jeddah
243 Laos, Vientiane
244 USA, Dallas Tex
245 Romania, Bucharest
246 Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar
247 China, Dalian
248 USA, Fort Worth Tex
249 Mozambique, Maputo
250 Lesotho, Maseru
251 Honduras, Tegucigalpa
252 USA, San Antonio Tex
253 Kosovo, Pristina
254 Nicaragua, Managua
255 Burundi, Bujumbura
256 Belize, Belmopan
257 USA, Houston Tex
258 Ethiopia, Addis Ababa
259 China, Macao
260 Kenya, Nairobi
261 USA, Columbus Ohio
262 USA, St Louis MO
263 Bangladesh, Dhaka
264 Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City
265 USA, Austin Tex
266 Bulgaria, Sofia
267 Myanmar, Yangon
268 Saint Lucia, Castries
269 Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek
270 USA, El Paso Tex
271 Argentina, Buenos Aires
272 USA, Memphis Tenn
273 China, Guangzhou
274 El Salvador, San Salvador
275 Paraguay, Asuncion
276 Morocco, Rabat
277 Zimbabwe, Harare
278 Pakistan, Lahore
279 Mauritania, Nouakchott
280 Ecuador, Quito
281 Nepal, Kathmandu
282 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo
283 Albania, Tirana
284 China, Tianjin
285 USA, Indianapolis Ind
286 Pakistan, Islamabad
287 Korea Democratic Republic of, Pyongyang
288 Suriname, Paramaribo
289 Uzbekistan, Tashkent
290 Pakistan, Karachi
291 Tajikistan, Dushanbe
292 Uganda, Kampala
293 Tunisia, Tunis
294 Bolivia, La Paz
295 Cambodia, Phnom Penh
296 Sri Lanka, Colombo
297 Bhutan, Thimphu
298 Libya, Tripoli
299 Tonga, NukuAlofa
300 Yemen, Sanaa

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