2013 Cost of Living Ranking

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Luanda skylineLuanda, the capital of Angola in Southern Africa, has overtaken Tokyo as the world’s most expensive city to live in for expatriates, according to Mercer‘s latest annual cost of living survey.

The oil-rich nation, which struggles with high costs of accommodation and imported goods, is back at the top of the rankings after falling into second place last year, a 2013 survey by the human resources firm showed on Tuesday. Luanda topped the list in 2010, and again in 2011.

Europe and the Asia-Pacific region were tied for the number of cities among the top 10 costliest, at four each.

Moscow was the highest-ranked European city in second place, followed by the three Swiss cities of Geneva, Zurich and Bern, which were placed seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively.

The most expensive Asian city is Japan, coming in third this year after placing first in 2012.

The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

The difference in cost for these items can be dramatic. For example the cost of a cup of coffee in Managua, Nicaragua is $1.54 compared to $8.29 in Moscow; a fast food hamburger meal is $3.62 in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, versus $13.49 in Caracas, and a cinema ticket is $5.91 in Johannesburg compared to $20.10 in London.

For more information about the rankings, click here.