Top 20 Most Expensive Cities To Live in the World 2021/2022
Shanghai, China, one of the most expensive cities in the world

Mercer announced the results of its 2021 Cost of Living survey that includes findings from 209 cities across five continents, and measures the comparative cost of each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

Surprising Facts 'Top Most Expensive Cities' in the World

The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly impacted the cost of living around the world – causing the value of currencies to fluctuate and driving up the cost of goods and services by disrupting supply chains. The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated changes in global mobility trends and practices, prompting companies to rethink their strategies for managing mobile workforces in the post-pandemic world.

While some countries have seen their cost of living rapidly increase, others have fallen from their previous rank.

1.More than half of the top 10 most expensive cities are located in Asia

Survey found that Ashgabat, Turkmenistan is the most expensive city in the world for international employees for 2021, pushing Hong Kong to second place. Known for its opulent architecture, Ashgabat – which holds the world record for the highest density of white marble buildings – has experienced a massive rise in its cost of living for expatriate workers over the past three years as a result of inflation and a black market for foreign currencies that has raised the price of imports.

Similar to Ashgabat, the majority of the places in the top 10 most expensive cities are located in Asia, according to the Mercer report, with Hong Kong at No. 2, Tokyo at No. 4, Shanghai at No. 6, Singapore at No. 7 and Beijing at No. 9.

2.None of the top 10 most expensive cities were located in the Americas.

Cities in the US have dropped in this year’s ranking mostly due to currency fluctuations, despite the rising inflation of goods and services in the US. New York (#14) ranked as the most expensive city in the US, though it dropped eight positions since last year, followed by Los Angeles (#20), San Francisco (#25), Honolulu (#43) and Chicago (#45).

3.UK cities saw minimal price inflation despite the pandemic and Brexit; London is up one place to (#18) and Birmingham shot up eight places to (#121) while Glasgow rose ten spots to (#131).

4.The world’s least expensive cities for international employees according to Mercer’s survey are Tbilisi (207), Lusaka (208) and Bishkek (209).

The full list of the top 20 most expensive cities in the world 2021:

  1. Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
  2. Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  3. Beirut, Lebanon
  4. Tokyo, Japan
  5. Zurich, Switzerland
  6. Shanghai, China
  7. Singapore, Singapore
  8. Geneva, Switzerland
  9. Beijing, China
  10. Bern, Switzerland
  11. Seoul, South Korea
  12. Shenzhen, China
  13. Ndjamena, Chad
  14. New York City, United States
  15. Tel Aviv, Israel
  16. Copenhagen, Denmark
  17. Guangzhou, China
  18. London, United Kingdom
  19. Lagos, Nigeria
  20. Libreville, Gabon

*See the full ranking of most expensive cities in the world here.

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Ashgabat, Turkmenistan capital

1.Ashgabat: The capital of Turkmenistan in central Asia climbed one position in this year’s ranking, to become the most expensive city in the world to live in. According to Mercer's Jean-Philippe Sarra, "strong local inflation" justified Ashgabat's climb to first place from second place in last year's study. Inflation is the rate at which the cost of goods and services rises over time. The country, which was once part of the Soviet Union, is heavily reliant on natural gas exports to Russia. As a result, low gas prices have contributed to Turkmenistan's economic upheaval. Inflation and food prices rose in 2014 as a result of a global drop in energy prices.Image Credit: shutterstock.

Hong Kong

2.Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s second place on the list is largely because of its unusually high housing expenses propel it, along with other expensive criteria. This is despite the fact that certain property prices have fallen in the last year, owing to a decline in demand due to the pandemic and continued political uncertainty.Image Credit: Insta/ discoverhongkong


3.Beirut: In third place due to a severe and widespread economic depression brought on by the buildup of multiple crises, including the country's largest-ever financial crisis, COVID-19, and the Port of Beirut explosion in 2020, Beirut in Lebanon is expensive to survive in as of now.


4.Tokyo: The Japanese city is the third most expensive city for due to the cost of living. Image Credit: Shutterstock

5.Zurich: Switzerland’s largest city Zurich took 5th place based on its high prices for goods and services. Image Credit: Insta/visitzurich


6.Shanghai: China is expected to overtake the United States as the world's largest economy by 2028, but its commercial capital has already arrived: Shanghai is currently one of the world's most expensive city. Shanghai has become the world's most costly metropolis as the result of a pandemic-induced boom in ecommerce and pharmaceutical companies. Image Credit: Shutterstock.


7.Singapore: This city is 7th on the list , due to currency fluctuations angainst the US Dollar, lifestyle changes indced by pandemic and much more. Image Credit: AFP


8.Geneva: Another city in Switzerland in top spot, Geneva has been ranked 8th due its expensive food and housing. Image Credit: Shutterstock


9.Beijing: Coming in as the ninth most expensive city is China's capital Beijing. Housing prices have been steadily increasing there over the past decade. The strengthening of the Chinese yuan pushed Chinese cities up on the list. Image Credit: Shutterstock


10.Bern: Yet another city from Switzerland, Bern is 10th on the list.

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