The cost of living rankings for October 2012 show Tokyo in Japan as the most expensive location for expatriate to reside in. According to Xpatulator there has been substantial movement this quarter with Zurich and Geneva in Switzerland ranking second and third, Luanda Angola as fourth and Hong Kong China fifth.
Tokyo is the most expensive location in the world overall taking all elements of the cost of living into account. It is the most expensive place for expatriates in that it is particularly costly for the items that consume the largest portion of an expatriates living costs. Household accommodation, which accounts for approximately 30% of a typical expatriate's budget is the fourth highest in the world in Tokyo (Hong Kong is still the most expensive for housing).
In Tokyo the benchmark rental for a secure up-market unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is $6,293 in a central location, and $3,209 in a suburban location, per month, excluding utilities. The second most costly basket in Tokyo is groceries, which accounts for 16.5% of a typical expatriates budget, and ranks 5th most expensive in the world. Benchmark prices in a major international retail store in Tokyo for 1 kg apples is $7.08, 1 kg oranges $4.80, 1 kg potatoes $4.92, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast $11.91, 1 kg cheddar cheese $18.22, and 1 L full cream milk $2.73.
If the housing, education, medical and transport baskets are excluded from the cost of living calculation, then Luanda ranks first with Zurich and Geneva, in second and third, placing Tokyo as the fifth most expensive place to live and Hong Kong 108th. Tokyo drops dramatically in ranking when the most expensive basket group - housing is removed, making it overall a much cheaper expatriate prospect when housing is provided by the employer. Luanda is particularly expensive for clothing, groceries, recreation and culture, and restaurants and meals out. A pair of branded men's jeans costs approximately $113, a 1L full cream milk $2.93, a cinema ticket for 1 adult $13.17, a cappuccino $4.37 and a burger meal from an international franchise is $13.82.
Cost of Living Rankings for the Top Twenty-Five most expensive cities and regions to live in the world:
1. Japan, Tokyo: Asia-Pacific
2. Switzerland, Zurich: Europe
3. Switzerland, Geneva: Europe
4. Angola, Luanda: Africa
5. China, Hong Kong: Asia-Pacific
6. Venezuela, Caracas: Americas
7. Japan, Yokohama: Asia-Pacific
8. Japan, Osaka: Asia-Pacific
9. Japan, Nagoya: Asia-Pacific
10. Japan, Kobe: Asia-Pacific
11. Monaco, Monaco: Europe
12. Japan, Kyoto: Asia-Pacific
13. Japan, Kawasaki: Asia-Pacific
14. USA, New York (Manhattan) NY: Americas
15. Bermuda, Hamilton: Americas
16. United Kingdom, London: Europe
17. Norway, Oslo: Europe
18. Japan, Fukuoka: Asia-Pacific
19. Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby: Asia-Pacific
20. Singapore, Singapore: Asia-Pacific
21. Australia, Sydney: Asia-Pacific
22. Liechtenstein, Vaduz: Europe
23. Japan, Sapporo: Asia-Pacific
24. Denmark, Copenhagen: Europe
25. Russia, Moscow: Europe
Head of Client and Marketing Services, Denise McManus comments that: "Becoming an expatriate can be an exciting prospect but it can be overwhelming, you need to plan your move with the knowledge that your new salary will cover your cost of living and continue to maintain your standard of living. This is where we come in, we provide the information that multinational companies and the man on the street can use to calculate either what the cost will be to the company or the salary that the employee requires in the new location."
"Companies are deploying more and more employees to work in foreign countries than we have seen in the past. These companies therefore need to find cost effective ways of moving staff ensuring that they stay within their business strategy and budget and at the same time ensuring that the salaries offered reflect the difference in the cost of living between the home and host country. In these volatile markets and with the stunted economic growth in many countries this requires composite calculations to ensure that both company and employee are in a win-win situation. The Calculators we offer ensure that the employee is adequately compensated for and will therefore be agreeable to the move."
The cost of living rankings are released every quarter and measure the comparative cost of living for expatriates in 780 locations, covering every country worldwide. The cost of living comparison uses local prices for defined quantities of the same goods and services at or near each location, which is converted to a single currency. The prices are grouped together into baskets and the cost of living index calculated for each of these.
The Overall Most Expensive Cities to live per region are as follows:
The Americas: Caracas, Venezuela
Africa: Luanda, Angola
Asia-Pacific: Tokyo, Japan
The Middle East: Doha, Qatar
Europe: Zurich, Switzerland
The Top Ten Cheapest Cities Include:
1. Bhutan, Thimphu
2. Tunisia, Tunis
3. Tajikistan, Dushanbe
4. Romania, Bucharest
5. Bulgaria, Sofia
6. Nepal, Kathmandu
7. Democratic Republic of Korea, Pyongyang
8. India, Calcutta
9. Nicaragua, Managua
10. Cambodia, Phnom Penh
For the full free list go to the Xpatulator cost of living ranking page.
Denise McManus is the Head of Client and Marketing at Xpatulator.com
which 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 every country around the world as well as premium content calculators.