Top 10 Most Expensive Cities World-Wide

Say you and some friends are playing a game on a Friday night. You have 1 minute to list the top ten most expensive cities in the world. In fact, try it now. No cheating on Google.

What did you write? New York, Tokyo, London, San Francisco? Hope you didn’t bet any money on all or nothing, because you just lost it.

According to Mercer, a global financial services conglomerate, New York is not the most expensive city in the world in 2011. Nor is it the second. In fact, worldwide, New York isn’t even in the top ten.

The city with the highest cost of living in the world, for the 2nd year running, is Luanda, Angola. And though that may surprise you, consider that this designation can be read as a positive sign for the formerly struggling city. The IBTraveler blog wrote that Luanda’s ascent is “a good indicator that a country once ravaged by war and instability is on the rise.”  This sentiment applies to many other surprising cities on the top ten list.



To find the top ten most expensive cities on the planet, Mercer primarily measured two cost factors.

  1. Local currency’s strength compared to the U.S. dollar over a one-year period.
  2. Rise or fall of the cost of goods over a one-year period.

“The US dollar has weakened significantly against some currencies, including the Singapore dollar, the Brazilian real, and the Malaysian ringgit. So the Cost of Living indices for US expatriates will continue to increase to reflect the need to use more US dollars to buy the same number of host currency units,” Mercer said in a statement.

Yet while the US dollar is a basis for this entire study, no US city made the top 10 list. We don’t show up even in the top 25. If it makes you feel better about your initial list, New York is the most expensive city in the USA; but globally, it’s a measly 32nd.

So where are the top 10 most expensive cities? Pack your bags. We’re going traveling to the four corners of the Earth.

  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
  10. Sao Paolo, Brazil

So be honest, readers. Would you have guessed even half of this list correctly without cheating?