Mumbai most expensive Indian city for expats: Survey

India’s financial capital Mumbai has emerged as the most expensive city in the country for expatriates in terms of cost of living, a survey said on Tuesday.

According to Mercer’s ‘2020 Cost of Living Survey’, Mumbai is the 60th most expensive city for expatriates globally, while it ranks 19th in Asia.


Mumbai is the most expensive among Indian cities surveyed, followed by New Delhi (101st globally) and Chennai (143rd globally).

Bengaluru (171) and Kolkata (185) are the least expensive Indian cities in the rankings, the survey said.

Overall, all Indian cities surveyed showed a jump in rankings by a minimum of four places, with New Delhi climbing the most by 17 positions and narrowly escaping the top 100 list of most expensive cities for expatriates.

The global list was topped by Hong Kong, followed by Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) in second position. Japan’s Tokyo and Switzerland’s Zurich remain in the third and fourth positions, respectively, whereas Singapore is in fifth position, down two places from last year.

“With challenges of cost considerations and complexity of operating globally in today’s environment, reinventing talent mobility programmes is imperative in the future agenda, post-crisis,” Padma Ramanathan, Global Talent Mobility Practice Leader at Mercer said.

She further added that “it is not surprising that Indian cities are emerging to be among key contenders providing a business case to relocate operations for manufacturing or services for reasons such as skill availability, cost competitiveness, and attractiveness to mobilise executives to conduct business”.

Other cities figuring in the top ten in the global ranking are the United States’ New York City at sixth place, China’s Shanghai at seventh, Switzerland’s Bern and Geneva at eighth and ninth place, respectively, and Beijing at the 10th slot.

On the other hand, Tunis in Tunisia, Windhoek (Namibia), Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) and Karachi (Pakistan) were ranked at the bottom as the least expensive cities in the world.

The survey is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation strategies for their expatriate employees.

New York City is used as the base city for all comparisons and currency movements are measured against the US dollar.

This year’s ranking includes 209 cities across five continents, and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

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