Among the most expensive cities in the world for ex-patriates to live, New York and London are not even close to the top. Mercer’s annual Cost of Living report puts Luanda, Angola, as the priciest city in the world for expatriate employees. An apartment, for example, in the Angolan capital can cost $3500 a month, while a stepping out in a pair of blue jeans can cost more than $240, and a fast-food meal costs $18.95. By the same token, millions of Angolans make do on less than $2 a day in a country which the World Bank ranks as the seventh worst in the world for its income equality. This is the third year in the world that Angola has won the prize for expatriates.
Petroleum extraction in Angola has created an unprecedented boom in the southern African nation, which saw decades of conflict following the departure of Portuguese colonial masters in the 1970s. Currently, half of Angola’s GDP is contributed by the oil industry. Apartment blocks, corporate buildings, and commercial centers are going up as cranes and derricks are busy building up the infrastructure in Luanda. Petroleum extraction also makes N'Djamena, Chad, one of the most expensive places for ex-patriates to hang their hats.
Nonetheless, Singapore is often singled out as the best place in the world for expatriates to live.
On the Mercer's list, the top 10 most expensive cities for expatriates are as follows:
1) Luanda, Angola
2) Hong Kong, China
3) Zurich, Switzerland
4) Singapore, Singapore
5) Geneva, Switzerland
6) Shanghai, China
7) Beijing, China
8) Seoul, South Korea
9) Bern, Switzerland
10) N'Djamena, Chad
Using other metrics, The Economist Intelligence Unit issued this month its latest measurement of the world’s most expensive cities, overall. New York City was not even in the top ten.
1) Singapore is the world’s most expensive city, and as Southeast Asia’s financial hub, it has registered growth in private banking, attracting ex-patriates to the regional offices of multinational companies. It is the most expensive city in the world for purchasing clothing and owning an automobile. This is the second year in a row for Singapore, which is also known for harsh enforcement of laws, even for minor infractions (e.g. spitting chewing gum on the sidewalk).
No. 2: Paris, which is 26 percent more expensive than New York.
No. 3: Oslo, in third place for two years in a row.
No. 4: Zurich.
No. 5: Sydney, Australia.
No. 6: Melbourne, Australia. By other measures, Melbourne was chosen as the most liveable city in the world.
No. 7: Geneva
No. 8: Copenhagen.
No. 9: Hong Kong and Seoul. Now tied with Seoul, Hong Kong was once the third most expensive city. Just a decade ago, Seoul squeaked into the top fifty cities.
No. 22: New York City.
And among the worst places in the world to live are those cities where Muslim terrorist groups contend for power. Among them is Tripoli, Libya, which came in at 136.
Summod Front privates on parade in Tripoli, June 2015