Lots of people have dreams of getting away from it all and moving to another country, but some of us do just that. An expatriate is someone who moves and indeed lives in a country other than the one they were born in and it is considered a rather trendy thing to do these days. You might think you already know the top 10 countries that these people move to, but what the Mercer 2021 cost of living report shows is the top ten countries that are most expensive for expats to live in has changed quite dramatically over the last year or so. You could put this down to a number of Covid related issues, but regardless of why it is still very interesting…
10. Bern, Switzerland
With a population of just over 100,000 people, it is not the size of Switzerland’s capital that holds people back, it is the cost of living there. For a family of four the estimated monthly costs are 5,741$ (5,280Fr.) without rent and a single person estimated monthly costs are 1,551$ (1,427Fr.) (once again without rent).
9. Beijing, China
Often called the People’s Republic of China this is China’s sprawling capital and is home to over 22 million people. Including rent, the average living cost in Beijing is around 13,500RMB. That works out at roughly £1487 or $1912. Between two people, that’s a pretty decent amount of money to be living on but the high costs of rent and homes is what puts it on this list.
8. Geneva, Switzerland
Surrounded by the Alps this is a picturesque city that is home to just over 200,000 people. Being a global hub for diplomacy and banking this city is home to some of the most influential people on earth and so it does cost a lot to live here. A two-bedroom apartment in Geneva will cost between CHF 2,300 and 3,500 per month while renting a house costs twice as much as an apartment.
7. Singapore, Singapore
Officially known as the Republic of Singapore this city is a sovereign island in maritime Southeast Asia. The English name of “Singapore” is an anglicisation of the native Malay name for the country and it is home to over 6 million people! For a family of four to live here it is estimated to cost monthly 3,522$ (4,740S$) without rent and a single person estimated monthly costs are 967$ (1,301S$) (once again without rent).
6. Shanghai, China
Being the country’s biggest city and most densely populated with as many as 27 million people calling it home, it does of course cost a fair penny to live here, so if you do plan to become an expat you better have a good job. For a family of four the estimated monthly costs are 2,617$ (16,926¥) without rent and for a single person the estimated monthly costs are 708$ (4,581¥) (again without rent)
5. Zurich, Switzerland
Everyone knows this city which is home to almost 500,000 people is a global centre for banking and finance. A family of four has an estimated monthly cost (without rent) of 6,165$ (5,670Fr.) and a single person’s estimated monthly costs are 1,669$ (1,535Fr.) (once again without rent)
4. Tokyo, Japan
With its mix of ultramodern buildings and lifestyles, to its historic temples and traditional Japanese homes, this is a busy capital city that is home to almost 15 million people. A single person living in Tokyo can expect to spend around 120,000 JPY (1,100 USD) per month, not including rent. If you add in the average rental price for a one-bedroom apartment, this expense goes up to nearly 245,000 JPY (2,200 USD). A family living in Tokyo will see that number tripled.
3. Beirut, Lebanon
This is probably the first big surprise on this list, but it is the capital and indeed the largest city of Lebanon that is home to almost 400,000 people. A family of four has an estimated monthly cost of 3,532.88£ (7,417,691.72L£) without rent and a single person estimated monthly costs are 963.60£ (2,023,185.10L£) (once again without rent).
2. Hong Kong, Hong Kong
These days it is officially known as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and most people know that there has been a lot of protesting and fighting going on within its boundaries, but it is still home to almost 8 million people. For a family of four, the estimated monthly costs are 3,804$ (29,542HK$) without rent and a single person estimated monthly costs are 1,077$ (8,366HK$) without rent.
1. Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Yes, this really is the worlds most expensive city for expats to move to and one of the lesser-known countries around the world. Known for its white marble buildings and grandiose national monuments, this city is home to just 1.1 million people. But yet, because of this cities high local inflation, you will have to be a millionaire just to live a comfortable life here mostly because of the high costs of food and medicines. To maintain the standard of living you need a salary of $1000 on local money and to own a home you will be looking in the hundreds of thousands.
Do you know anyone who lives in these cities? Are you planning on moving abroad yourself? If so do let us know in the comments below if any of these ten most expansive cities take your fancy.