Dubai among world’s top 20 most expensive cities for expats to live in - Gulf Business
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Dubai among world’s top 20 most expensive cities for expats to live in

Dubai among world’s top 20 most expensive cities for expats to live in

Dubai and Abu Dhabi were found to be the most expensive cities in the region

Dubai has climbed up one spot to rank among the world’s top 20 most expensive cities for expatriates to live in, according to the 2017 cost of living index released by Mercer.

The annual survey, which looks as factors such as housing and inflation, found that Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the second and third most expensive Middle Eastern cities for expatriate cost of living.

Globally, Dubai rose from the 21st spot last year to the 20th position this year, while Abu Dhabi also climbed two spots to rank 23rd worldwide.

The rise in the rankings follows the wider Middle Eastern trend of GCC countries becoming more expensive, Mercer said.

“Dubai and Abu Dhabi continue to rise in the global rankings in line with increasing cost of living indicators in the UAE,” said Nuno Gomes, Principal Information Solutions leader at Mercer MENA and Turkey.

“However, this year currency fluctuation was less of a factor in worldwide changes in the rankings, so the slight rise on the list represents a true increase in the cost of living in the UAE when compared to other cities globally.”

Along with Dubai and Abu Dhabi, six other Middle Eastern cities appeared in the world’s top 100, including Riyadh (52), Beirut (53), Manama (55), Amman (59), Doha (81) and Muscat (92).

Manama climbed by the most spots annually among regional cities, up 16 places on the ranking, while Riyadh and Muscat also rose by five and two places respectively. Meanwhile, Beirut fell by two places, Amman by nine and Doha by five.

The least expensive cities in the region were found to be Istanbul, Jeddah and Kuwait City, the report found.

At a global level, European and Asian cities continue to dominate the top of the list.

The most expensive city was found to be Luanda in Angola, and the same cities remained at the top five, despite changes in ranking positions including Hong Kong, Tokyo, Zurich and Singapore.

The survey was conducted in 400 cities across five continents and measured the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.


1. Luanda, Angola

Rank in 2016: 2

2. Hong Kong

Rank in 2016: 1

3. Tokyo, Japan

Rank in 2016: 5

4. Zurich, Switzerland

Rank in 2016: 3

5. Singapore

Rank in 2016: 4

6. Seoul, South Korea

Rank in 2016: 15

7. Geneva, Switzerland

Rank in 2016: 8

8. Shanghai, China

Rank in 2016: 8

9. New York City, US

Rank in 2016: 11

10. Bern, Switzerland

Rank in 2016: 13


1. Tunis, Tunisia

Rank in 2017: 209

Rank in 2016: 203

2. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Rank in 2017: 208

Rank in 2016: 207

3. Skopje, Macedonia

Rank in 2017: 206

Rank in 2016: 199

4. Windhoek, Namibia

Rank in 2017: 206

Rank in 2016: 209

5. Blantyre, Malawi

Rank in 2017: 205

Rank in 2016: 206

6. Tbilisi, Georgia

Rank in 2017: 204

Rank in 2016: 198

7. Monterrey, Mexico

Rank in 2017: 203

Rank in 2016: 197

8. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Rank in 2017: 202

Rank in 2016: 195

9. Karachi, Pakistan

Rank in 2017: 201

Rank in 2016: 201

10. Minsk, Belarus

Rank in 2017: 200

Rank in 2016: 204


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