Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cost of living for expatriates

Mercer, a global leader in human resource consulting, outsourcing and investment services, has released the results of its latest Cost of Living Survey, conducted in March 2011.

Designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for expatriate employees, the survey took a total of 214 cities and compared them against New York, the financial capital of the USA, in over 200 categories including:

-         housing
-         clothing and footwear
-         domestic services
-         food
-         entertainment
-         personal care
-         household supplies
-         sports and leisure
-         transportation
-         utilities

My conclusion after taking a quick look at the results overview? I guess I am better off here than back home - at least for now...

According to Mercer, local currency in Brazil has strengthened significantly against the US dollar, causing the region’s cities to rise in the ranking.

Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia are now the most expensive locations for expatriates in South America. Overall, Sao Paulo was placed 10th and Rio de Janeiro 12th, in front of cities such as London (18th), Paris (27th), and New York (32nd).

How is the situation in Abu Dhabi and Dubai?

Well, both are among the most expensive cities in the Gulf. True... Still, their names did not appear in the top 5 cost of living ranking cities in the Middle East and Africa (shown below) and their overall position in the ranking are 67 and 81 respectively.
Callum Burns-Green, head of Mercer’s Dubai office, said to Gulf News on recent interview: ‘Dubai in particular has witnessed a reduction in accommodation costs since 2009 as the strong supply of property coming on to the rental market has reduced the shortage that existed in the several years prior to 2008.’

He also added that ‘government initiatives to control food inflation, such as the stabilization of essential commodities, have helped UAE cities move down the table. Where the depreciation has been accompanied by political stability and good levels of security, such as in the UAE, we would generally expect a favorable impact on those cities from an economic perspective as expatriates and their employers see a reduced cost of living there.’

And more good news to all of us living in Abu Dhabi:

According to another Gulf News article, ‘Abu Dhabi's residential rents may drop by 10 per cent in the next 12 months, extending a three-year decline, as rising home completions increases the amount of unoccupied properties, according to the emirate's second-largest real estate developer.’


Sao Paulo, Brazil (10th)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (12th)
New York, USA (32nd)
Brasilia, Brazil (33rd)
Caracas, Venezuela (51st)

Asia Pacific:
Tokyo, Japan (2nd)
Osaka, Japan (6th)
Singapore, Singapore (8th)
Hong Kong, Hong Kong (9th)
Nagoya, Japan (11th)

Moscow, Russia (4th)
Geneva, Switzerland (5th)
Zurich, Switzerland (7th)
Oslo, Norway (15th)
Bern, Switzerland (16th)

Middle East and Africa:
Luanda, Angola (1st)
N’Djamena, Chad (3rd)
Libreville, Gabon (12th)
Niamey, Niger (23rd)
Victoria, Seychelles (25th)

1 comment:

  1. Dear BurCarioca, I live in the UAE and visiting Brazil at present, it is absolutely unacceptable expensive and your article and studies are very correct, well done!
    surviving here is equivalent to 4 stars living in the UAE