Top Ranked COL Expat Cities April 2014

  • Luanda retains top position for most expensive city in the world and Africa for expatriates
  • Caracas moves up from fifth position in the world and is the most expensive in the Americas
  • Singapore most expensive in Asia Pacific
  • Oslo most expensive in Europe
  • Doha tops in the Middle East


Luanda, Angola ranks #1 while Caracas, Venezuela ranks #2. Unlike Luanda and Caracas, Oslo which ranks #3 enjoys low inflation, low unemployment, and one the highest GDPs per capita in the World.

Caracas in contrast has experienced rampant inflation, shortages and tight government controls on foreign exchange pushing it up the rankings. As the World’s fifth largest exporter of oil, Venezuela was once a top destination for skilled foreign oil and gas workers.

It’s attractiveness for expats has been steadily eroded by strict government regulations that limit hiring and compensation for foreign workers and by the soaring cost of living.

Luanda once again retains the position of most expensive destination globally and in Africa for expats due to its costly accommodation where expatriate housing is extremely expensive and imported produce and international private schooling excessively costly.

Singapore has risen to the top spot in the list of the most expensive cities in the Asia-Pacific region for foreign workers. Singapore leaped past previous list leader, Hong Kong and the long time most expensive city in the World, Tokyo.

Oslo, Norway jumped ahead of Zurich and Geneva to become the most expensive European city for foreign workers. The rankings, which are updated quarterly, saw Zurich fall from 1st among the World’s most expensive cities in mid-2013 to 6th in the first quarter of 2014. Oslo has moved from 10th to 3rd during the same period of time.

Doha ranked 127th in the World, making its cost of living comparable with cities like Glasgow, Scotland and Edmonton, Canada. 


Top 10 City Rankings (all 13 baskets) 

April Ranking Location January Ranking
1 Luanda, Angola 1
2 Caracas , Venezuela 5
3 Oslo , Norway 7
4 Singapore, Singapore 13
5 Hong Kong, China 6
6 Zurich, Switzerland 2
7 Geneva, Switzerland 4
8 Monaco, Monaco 11
9 Tokyo, Japan 12
10 Sydney, Australia 17


Top Ten City Rankings Excluding Housing, Education, Medical and Transport

  1. Luanda
  2. Caracas
  3. Oslo
  4. Zurich
  5. Geneva
  6. Moscow
  7. N’Djamena
  8. Singapore
  9. New Caledonia
  10. Nigeria


While on international assignments ensure that you or your employee’s spending power is not compromised by changes in inflation, the availability of goods as well as exchange rates. Multinational companies will often include a cost of living allowance in their pay packages to ensure that employee’s remuneration packages are not compromised by changes in the relative cost of living.

About Xpatulator is a website that provides international cost of living information and calculators that can help you determine cost of living indexes, cost of living allowances, salary purchasing power and international assignment packages to compensate for cost of living, hardship, and exchange rate differences.
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