Moving abroad to work? Rethink shiny offers from Asia as the continent has some of the world’s most expensive cities, according to two companies analyzing the living costs across major cities in the world. Based on Mercer’s cost of living ranking, Hong Kong is the most expensive city for expats in 2016. Meanwhile, in a recent bi-annual survey released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Singapore has emerged as the costliest city to live in.
Which survey really paints a complete picture?
The base of comparison for both companies is New York. Items they surveyed for cost of living tracking include costs of house rent, transportation, healthcare, as well as common goods and services. As for coverage, Mercer includes 209 cities on the survey while the Economist Intelligence Unit reviews 133 cities for their final Worldwide Cost of Living report. It appears that Mercer’s research is more comprehensive than the EIU study.
If you’re choosing between Hong Kong or Singapore, you are better off adding another option since you already know that both cities have high costs of living. Try to see which other cities made it to the top 10 in both surveys as rankings change over time. Tokyo and Luanda (capital of Angola), for example, were once on the top spots, now they have moved down the list.
There’s a bunch of other factors to consider before moving to another country, anyway, like language, visa, health, taxes, pension, and foreign exchange. Cost of living is just one of them.
Browsing these global cities rankings allows you to get creative about deciding where to move for work. That’s the main reason surveys like these exist in the first place: to help multinational companies design appropriate or attractive benefits and compensation packages for would-be expat workers. Are you one of them? A penny for your thoughts?