Tokyo was ranked as the world’s most expensive city for expatriates in Mercer’s 2012 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey. Last year’s top city—Luanda, Angola—came in second. Mercer’s survey, used by employers to determine compensation allowances for expatriate employees, measures the cost of more than 200 items in 214 cities. Housing, often the biggest expense for expats, played an important part in the ranking, as did currency fluctuations. Overall, European cities experienced a decline in cost of living; North American cities rose as the U.S. dollar strengthened against many currencies; and all surveyed cities in Australia, China, Japan, and New Zealand moved up in the rankings, according to Mercer.

Data source on all slides: Mercer Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2012

Photograph by Micheal McLaughlin/Gallery Stock

Tokyo was ranked as the world’s most expensive city for expatriates in Mercer’s 2012 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey. Last year’s top city—Luanda, Angola—came in second. Mercer’s survey, used by employers to determine compensation allowances for expatriate employees, measures the cost of more than 200 items in 214 cities. Housing, often the biggest expense for expats, played an important part in the ranking, as did currency fluctuations. Overall, European cities experienced a decline in cost of living; North American cities rose as the U.S. dollar strengthened against many currencies; and all surveyed cities in Australia, China, Japan, and New Zealand moved up in the rankings, according to Mercer.

Data source on all slides: Mercer Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2012

Photograph by Micheal McLaughlin/Gallery Stock

Most Expensive Cities for Expats in 2012

The 10 Most Expensive Cities for Expatriates
The 10 Most Expensive Cities for Expatriates

Tokyo was ranked as the world’s most expensive city for expatriates in Mercer’s 2012 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey. Last year’s top city—Luanda, Angola—came in second. Mercer’s survey, used by employers to determine compensation allowances for expatriate employees, measures the cost of more than 200 items in 214 cities. Housing, often the biggest expense for expats, played an important part in the ranking, as did currency fluctuations. Overall, European cities experienced a decline in cost of living; North American cities rose as the U.S. dollar strengthened against many currencies; and all surveyed cities in Australia, China, Japan, and New Zealand moved up in the rankings, according to Mercer.

Data source on all slides: Mercer Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2012

Photograph by Micheal McLaughlin/Gallery Stock
No. 10: Nagoya, Japan
No. 10: Nagoya, Japan
Monthly rent, luxury 2-br. unfurnished apt.: $2,551.42
Cup of coffee, with service:
$6.38
Fast food, hamburger meal:
$8.42
One liter gas, unleaded 95 octane:
$1.77
Photograph by Getty Images
No. 9: Hong Kong
No. 9: Hong Kong
Monthly rent, luxury 2-br. unfurnished apt.: $7,092.48
Cup of coffee, with service:
$6.83
Fast food, hamburger meal:
$3.54
One liter gas, unleaded 95 octane:
$2.21
Photograph by Tom Nagy /Gallery Stock
No. 8: N’Djamena, Chad
No. 8: N’Djamena, Chad
Monthly rent, luxury 2-br. unfurnished apt.: N/A
Cup of coffee, with service:
$3.32
Fast food, hamburger meal:
$25.18
One liter gas, unleaded 95 octane:
$1.21
Photograph by Philipp Horak/Anzenberger/Redux
No. 6 (tie): Singapore
No. 6 (tie): Singapore
Monthly rent, luxury 2-br. unfurnished apt.: $3,587.80
Cup of coffee, with service:
$5.18
Fast food, hamburger meal:
$5.66
One liter gas, unleaded 95 octane:
$1.73
Photograph by Michael Weber/Gallery Stock
No. 6 (tie): Zurich
No. 6 (tie): Zurich
Monthly rent, luxury 2-br. unfurnished apt.: $3,613.71
Cup of coffee, with service:
$6.02
Fast food, hamburger meal:
$12.59
One liter gas, unleaded 95 octane:
$1.95
Photograph by Nicole Tung/The New York Times via Redux
No. 5: Geneva
No. 5: Geneva
Monthly rent, luxury 2-br. unfurnished apt.: $4,818.27
Cup of coffee, with service:
$6.57
Fast food, hamburger meal:
$12.59
One liter gas, unleaded 95 octane:
$1.97
Photograph by Katarina Stefanovic/Getty Images
No. 4: Moscow
No. 4: Moscow
Monthly rent, luxury 2-br. unfurnished apt.: $4,200
Cup of coffee, with service:
$8.37
Fast food, hamburger meal:
$6.70
One liter gas, unleaded 95 octane:
$0.97
Photograph by Vladimir Zakharov/Getty Images
No. 3: Osaka, Japan
No. 3: Osaka, Japan
Monthly rent, luxury 2-br. unfurnished apt.: $3,061.70
Cup of coffee, with service:
$7.02
Fast food, hamburger meal:
$8.29
One liter gas, unleaded 95 octane:
$1.81
Photograph by Pearl Images/Getty Images
No. 2: Luanda, Angola
No. 2: Luanda, Angola
Monthly rent, luxury 2-br. unfurnished apt.: $6,500
Cup of coffee, with service:
$3.90
Fast food, hamburger meal:
$19.94
One liter gas, unleaded 95 octane:
$0.63
Photograph by Ken Gerhardt/Getty Images
No. 1: Tokyo
No. 1: Tokyo
Monthly rent, luxury 2-br. unfurnished apt.: $4,847.69
Cup of coffee, with service:
$8.29
Fast food, hamburger meal:
$8.29
One liter gas, unleaded 95 octane:
$1.94
Photograph by Getty Images