The most expensive cities worldwide - 2017

Expat cost of living ranking




EuroCost International's annual cost of living ranking compares expat living costs in major locations worldwide, including housing costs but excluding health and education costs.

The 2017 ranking is based on prices collected in June 2017 and updated with August 2017 exchange rates. 270 locations have been considered for this ranking.


Key points


  • Luanda is now the most expensive city in the world for expatriates. Angola's capital has gained the top spot because the price of the goods typically purchased by international assignees in Luanda has increased over the year. The yen devaluation has also helped overtaking Tokyo, last year's number one.
  • Hong Kong remains second and the yen devaluation makes Tokyo fall to the third spot.
  • Number 4 and 5 remain unchanged: Geneva and Singapore.

The euro has reinforced against most currencies over the year and this sustains the rise of European cities in the ranking this year. They occupy no less than 10 places in the top 30.

As usual, Swiss cities are omnipresent in the top 10 with no less than 3 cities (Geneva 4th, Zurich 7th and Lausanne 10th) but other countries appear, mostly due to the current strength of their currencies.

Moscow is back in the top 15. The position of the Russian capital is due not only to the reinforcement of the rouble, but also to the rent prices that have again increased after the strong decreases of 2015 and first semester 2016.

Copenhagen keeps progressing in the ranking up 8 places to 18th spot and Oslo enters the top 30 (24th).

Amsterdam is now the most expensive location for expatriates within the euro zone, slightly costlier than Paris.


Regional rankings


 1. Luanda  6. Djibouti
 2. Bangui  7. Brazzaville
 3. Kinshasa  8. Libreville
 4. Pointe Noire  9. Asmara
 5. Ndjamena  10. Abidjan

Luanda tops the African ranking and is much more expensive than the following locations.

Bangui reaches the second place. Kinshasa remains on the podium in spite of the notable devaluation of its currency (-37%) that makes this city much cheaper than before for expats.

Several locations have seen their ranking evolve radically this year.

Juba had plummeted to bottom places in 2015 with the devaluation of its currency after the government abandoned the dollar peg and let the pound float according to the market. Since then, in spite of the continued devaluation of the South Sudanese pound, Juba has climbed in the ranking because of hyperinflation. It is now 103rd.

Maputo, Mozambique's capital, has surged to 133rd place. It has plummeted last year after a yearly devaluation exceeding 40%. Its recovery is due to a stabilized exchange rate and a steady inflation.

Cairo is now one of the least expensive cities in Africa after the strong devaluation that occured in November 2016.

And finally, Tunis is the cheapest location for expats in Africa and overall.



 1. New York, NY
 6. Los Angeles, CA
 2. San Francisco, CA
 7. Sao Paulo
 3. Honolulu, HI
 8. Rio de Janeiro
 4. Boston, MA
 9. Guatemala City
 5. Washington, DC
 10. Montevideo

Unided States continue to monopolize the top places of the regional ranking and occupy no less than the top six places. New York remains first, followed by San Francisco et Honolulu, and ranks 9th in the global ranking, up two places.

The first non US location is Sao Paulo that ranks 45th in the global ranking.

The cheapest city in Americas is Asunción, Paraguay.

Caracas in Venezuela has not been included in the ranking because it could result either one of the most expensive cities worldwide or one of the cheapest ones according to the exchange rate considered.


 1. Hong Kong
 6. Beijing
 2. Tokyo
 7. Sydney
 3. Singapore
 8. Mumbai
 4. Seoul
 9. Taipei
 5. Shanghai
 10. Guangzhou

Tokyo remains the most expensive city for expats in this region, still followed by Hong Kong et Singapore.

Seoul now results more expensive than Shanghai and is the fourth Asian most expensive location.

India still has one city in the world top 30: Mumbai that ranks 20th.

The cheapest city in Asia is Ulan Bator.

The most expensive location in Oceania is still Sydney (17th worldwide), and Suva remains the cheapest (130th).



 1. Geneva
 6. Copenhagen
 2. Zurich
 7. Bern
 3. Lausanne
 8. Oslo
 4. Moscow
 9. Basel
 5. London
 10. Amsterdam

Three Swiss cities occupy the first three top spots: Geneva 4th worldwide, Zurich 7th and Lausanne 10th.

Moscow and London tightly fight for the 4th and 5th places: Moscow is 14th worldwide, up 9 places and London is 15th, down 3 places.

Nordic cities have well progressed in the ranking, particularly because of the strength of their currencies. Copenhagen, 6th European city, has climbed from 26th to 18th worldwide. Oslo, 8th in the European ranking has climbed from 33rd to 24th spot, Helsinki from 48th to 38th and Stockholm from 71st to 55th.

All euro zone cities climb in the ranking, although they mostly occupy places far from the top spots. The most expensive location for expats in the euro zone is Amsterdam (30th) that has overtaken Paris (34th). The rent prices demanded to expats are very high in Amsterdan and they have notably increased in 2016 since the supply is much too low to meet the demand.


Middle East

 1. Beirut
 2. Tel Aviv
 3. Abu Dhabi
 4. Dubai
 5. Doha

In the Middle East, Beirut remains the most expansive city, still because of the very high rents demanded in the most secure areas of the Lebanese capital.

United Arab Emirates remain in the top 30 with two cities: Abu Dhabi, 21st and Dubai 29th.

The cheapest city in Middle East is Tashkent.


Our methodology

EuroCost International 's cost of living surveys aim at comparing the cost of living for expatriates worldwide. They cover the whole basket of goods and services consumed by expatriates, excepted health and school costs (specific reports are provided for the latter).

The ranking is based on surveys conducted in June 2017 and includes rental costs. It should be noted that the rent prices used in this study are those paid by expatriates and that they are not representative for average rents paid by local inhabitants of the surveyed locations.

Rent prices used for this ranking are average rents for different types of housing favoured by expatriates and collected in the specific areas where they live. In some cities, prices for a specific type of housing can significantly differ from one area to another. This is for example the case for London, Mumbai and New York. Detailed information per city can be obtained in EuroCost International's rent surveys.

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