Two African cities top list of most expensive places for American expats

BY Xander Landen  July 13, 2014 at 12:48 PM EST
Luanda, Angola is the most expensive city in the world for Americans according to Mercer's Cost of Living City Rankings.  oneVillage Initiative

Luanda, Angola is the most expensive city in the world for Americans according to Mercer’s Cost of Living City Rankings. Credit: oneVillage Initiative

Luanda, Angola is the most expensive city in the world for Americans to live, according to Mercer’s 2014 Cost of Living Rankings released this month. N’Djamena, Chad, took the second-place spot.

The survey determined cost of living by looking at the prices of 200 items, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. The survey then compared those costs to prices in New York, which was ranked the most expensive American city at 16.

In a press release, Mercer said some Africans cities like Luanda are expensive for Americans because most goods are imported and come at a premium cost.

Here is the top ten:

  1. Luanda
  2. N’Djamena
  3. Hong Kong
  4. Singapore
  5. Zurich
  6. Geneva
  7. Tokyo
  8. Bern
  9. Moscow
  10. Shanghai

Chinese cities including Shanghai and Hong Kong rose in this year’s ranking, as the yuan strengthened against the dollar and apartment rents increased. Tokyo, which held third place in last year’s rankings moved to seventh place because the yen fell in value.

Switzerland has three cities in this year’s top ten list with Bern ranking eighth, Geneva ranking sixth and Zurich coming in fifth, making it one of the most expensive countries in the world for Americans.

Russian cities on the other hand fell because of the ruble’s depreciation against the dollar.

On the other end of the list, three of India’s cities, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore, ranked among the fifty least expensive cities for American expatriates.

Karachi, Pakistan was listed as the most affordable among the 211 cities ranked by the survey.