Mercer's annual cost of living report ranks 207 cities across five continents, comparing costs of more than 200 items in each location, including: housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. This year's report details a rise in costs across U.S. and Chinese cities, while Canadian locations became relatively more affordable.

Costs increase across cities in U.S. and China

Steadily increasing labour costs continued to apply upward pressure to prices in Chinese cities, with Beijing and Shanghai jumping from 10th and 11th place in 2014 to sixth and seventh this year. Less populous Chinese cities also leaped toward the top of the cost of living index, with seven cities (Shenzen, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Qingdao, Nanjing, Tianjin and Chengdu) all moving into the top 30, with some climbing as many as 24 positions.

Meanwhile, an appreciating U.S. dollar was responsible for huge increases in relative costs of living across the United States. In 16th place, New York City remains the most expensive American city, while Los Angeles and San Francisco emerged as the 36th and 37th most expensive cities globally, from 62nd and 64th place last year. Washington D.C., Boston and Dallas also jumped more than 30 places each to land in the 50th, 64th and 77th positions.

Canadian cities becoming relatively more affordable

Once among the top 100 most expensive places for expats to live, Vancouver slides from 96th place to 119th, while Toronto falls from 101st to 126th. Ottawa ranked the least expensive of all Canadian cities at 162nd, it places below every city in the United States.

Complete and accurate information on the cost of living in key markets is crucial for multinational organizations making compensation decisions. In addition to publishing their annual cost of living rankings, Mercer supplies detailed reports for each city and region.

View the full report: Mercer 2015 Cost of Living City Rankings



July 13, 2015

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