Sunday, April 13, 2014

Venezuelan Capital Tops List of Most Expensive Cities in the Americas

Caracas, Venezuela is the most expensive city to live in as an expat in the Americas.

According to's cost of living data collected for the April 2014 quarter, Caracas has dropped from being the most expensive expat city in the world to the second most expensive but it still tops the Americas list for foreign workers.

The ongoing rampant inflation, shortages and tight government controls on foreign exchange have continued to ensure that this South American city remains at the top of the rankings, keeping it ahead of Manhattan.  Manhattan which is the second most expensive city in this region, in contrast has well stocked boutiques, while shops in Caracas are suffering from shortages with long lines and bare shelves.  As the world's fifth largest exporter of oil, Venezuela was once a top destination for skilled foreign oil and gas works, this is being eroded by the strict government regulations that limit hiring and compensation for foreign workers and by the high cost of living.

The government price controls and official exchange rate of 6.3 Bolivers to the US Dollar have created a black market where products from cooking oil to rice is diverted to the Colombian border, creating prices that are 10 - 12 times higher. 

Canada is seeing an influx of skilled expat workers coming from this area, with a booming oil and gas industry growing in Calgary, which moved up the list from 101st to 87th most expensive city to live in the region as an expat. provides up-to-date cost of living data for over 700 locations worldwide.

Top Ten City Rankings for The Americas

  1. Caracas
  2. Manhattan
  3. Hamilton
  4. George Town
  5. Nassau
  6. Sao Paulo
  7. Brooklyn
  8. Rio de Janeiro
  9. New York
  10. Toronto

For the full ranking list for The Americas go here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Oslo Passes Two Swiss Cities to Become the Most Expensive City in Europe

April 2014 has seen Oslo, Norway jumping ahead of both Zurich and Geneva to become the most expensive European city for expats in this region and the world. 

The latest rankings saw Oslo move from seventh in the last quarter to third, while Zurich fell from first among the World’s most expensive cities in mid-2013 to sixth.

The one similarity between the cities of Oslo, Zurich and Geneva is that despite being part of the European continent, they are neither part of the European Union nor part of the European Economic Community. This means that Norway like Switzerland is free to set its own economic policies, it can therefore maintain aggressive tax rates to fund social programs. It also actively pursues social objectives through taxes on tobacco, alcohol and gasoline.

Although Norway has high wage rates, it also has a high cost of living as well as high taxes. There is very little difference between the lowest paid 10% of workers and the highest paid 10%, wages for restaurant workers, teachers, service people and unskilled labor are high enough for most workers to live comfortably. This concept of a living wage is highly ingrained within the Norwegian Social Value system, but allows every "class" of citizen to have a good standard of living. provides up-to-date cost of living data for over 700 locations worldwide.

Top Ten City Rankings for Europe

  1. Oslo
  2. Zurich
  3. Geneva
  4. Monaco
  5. Moscow
  6. Copenhagen
  7. London
  8. Vaduz
  9. Stockholm
  10. Paris

For the full cost of living rankings for Europe go here.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Qatar Capital Doha Ranks as the Most Expensive City in the Mideast

Qatar once again tops the list of the Middle East's most expensive cities in the latest World rankings published by 

Although it ranks first in this region, Doha's overall ranking is 89th in the World, making its cost of living comparable with cities like Manchester, United Kingdom and Calgary in Canada. The most expensive cities on the list were three other oil producing centers. Luanda, Angola ranked as the most expensive city for expat workers while Caracas, Venezuela and Oslo, Norway ranked 2nd and 3rd.

Compensation rates for upper-middle managers working in Doha are among the highest in the World and across the entire region, skilled expat workers enjoy generous benefits such as housing, transportation, education allowances and often companies include a trip home for the family on a yearly basis. 

Even though young Qatari nationals are encouraged by the government to study and enter the workforce, the reliance on expat workers continues. Top international talent will continue their influx into Qatar and its neighbors due to the generous compensation packages and relatively low cost of living. provides up-to-date cost of living data for over 700 locations worldwide.

Top Ten City Rankings for The Middle East
  1. Doha
  2. Jerusalem
  3. Abu Dhabi
  4. Dubai
  5. Beirut
  6. Tehran
  7. Manama
  8. Kuwait City
  9. Amman
  10. West Bank
The full overall cost of living rankings are available here

The Capital City of Chad Ranks as the 2nd Most Expensive City in Africa

N’Djamena is the capital of one of the poorest countries in the World and is the second most expensive expat destination in the region and 19th most expensive worldwide.

The April quarterly update from show both N’Djamena and Shanghai, China reached the top 20 for the first time.

While Shanghai has experienced double-digit economic growth in the last 21 years, a metropolis of 24 million people with the world's busiest container port, the 3rd largest stock market in the world and home to China's largest industrial companies. N'Djamena in contrast suffers from an almost non-existent infrastructure, growing shortages of imported goods and regular inflows of refugees from its border with the Central African Republic. However, it has moved up the rankings as expats flow into the country to develop its oil fields.

What makes both of these cities expensive for foreign workers is the increasing demand for imported goods and first world accommodation expectations.

N’Djamena has moved from 181st in April 2013 to 19th in the rankings. The most expensive city in the World is Luanda, Angola, another developing oil producer on the African continent. provides up-to-date cost of living data for over 700 locations worldwide.

Top Ten City Rankings for Africa
  1. Luanda
  2. N'Djamena
  3. Abuja
  4. Lagos
  5. Kano
  6. Ibadan
  7. Maputo
  8. Bangu
  9. Bissau
  10. Conakry

For the full list of city rankings for the African Region go here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Singapore - Asia’s Most Expensive City - Is the Cost of Success is Too High

Singapore moves up from third in the first quarter of 2014 to the top spot in the Asia Pacific region and fourth overall most expensive cities in the world for foreign workers. 

Singapore reached the top 20 most expensive in the October 2010 Xpatulator rankings rising to 18th in 2011, 20th in 2012 and 14th in 2013 in the same period. It has climbed to reach fourth most expensive in April 2014.

What has fueled this rise in costs? The influx of foreign workers who have been attracted by high paying jobs at one of the more than 7,000 multinational companies located in Singapore. These expats have until now enjoyed a relatively high standard of living.

However, the rising cost of education, transportation and housing are increasing the cost of living for expatriates and threatening the high standard of living with many economists predicting that the pressure for increased wages will push costs even higher. Even though costs are on the rise for foreign workers, the total percentage of expats has risen from 25% in 2000 to 38% in 2013.

Topping the list for the Asia Pacific region are Hong Kong, China - second, Tokyo, Japan - third, Sydney, Australia - fourth and Shanghai, China - fifth. provides up-to-date cost of living data for over 700 locations worldwide.

Top Ten City Rankings for Asia Pacific
  1. Singapore
  2. Hong Kong
  3. Tokyo
  4. Sydney
  5. Shanghai
  6. Canberra
  7. Yokohama
  8. Melbourne
  9. Osaka
  10. Perth

For the full cost of living rankings for Asia Pacific go here.