Hong Kong remains most expensive city for expat workers, Brussels in 37th place

Hong Kong remains the world’s most expensive city for expat workers, according to an annual ranking compiled by HR company Mercer. Brussels is the only Belgian city included in the ranking, climbing four positions to 37th.

The top three cities remain the same as in last year’s report: Hong Kong, Singapore and Zurich. Three other Swiss cities – Geneva, Basel and Bern – make up the top 10 alongside New York, London, Nassau and Los Angeles. London was 17th last year, but rapid growth in the cost of living and rent have seen it climb the list, Mercer says.

Living in Brussels is cheaper than in neighbouring capitals, with Paris ranked 29th, Amsterdam 30th and Berlin 31st. 

Mercer's Cost of Living City Ranking compares the prices of more than 200 goods and services, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment, in 226 cities. The report is intended to provide insights for businesses about international staff assignments.

"When housing costs are high, employees may need to spend a significant portion of their income on rent or mortgage payments, leaving them with less disposable income for other expenses," the company said in a press release. "This can lead to financial stress and a reduced standard of living, which can have a negative impact on employee morale and well-being."

In the least expensive cities, including Islamabad, Lagos and Abuja, lower costs of living for international assignees have in part been driven by currency depreciations.



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