Geneva ranked as the most expensive place for expats to live in Europe

Geneva ranked as the most expensive place for expats to live in Europe

Two Swiss cities have been ranked in the top 10 most expensive places for expats to live in the world, according to the latest cost of living report by the ECA. Despite only recording a small increase in the cost of living over the last year, prices in the alpine nation still make Geneva and Zurich some of the most expensive places to call home.

Cost of Living Ranking 2022 by ECA

The ECA’s Cost of Living Ranking analyses 207 cities in 120 countries around the world and ranks them by how expensive it is to live there. The ranking is tailored specifically to expats and is meant to be a guide to what an employee's salary should be when living in certain areas.

The ECA ranks the cost of living in each city by seeing how expensive food, clothing, electrical goods, utilities and public transport are compared to other areas, and analyses how prices have changed in the last 12 months. This is combined with "accommodation research" - determining the cost of renting a house or apartment and buying a house - to create the final ranking.

Hong Kong, New York and Geneva the most expensive cities in the world

In the 2022 report, Hong Kong was deemed to be the most expensive city in the world to live in, followed by New York. The ECA found that essential items like tomatoes, milk and petrol are often more than double the price in Hong Kong than they are in the rest of the world. Due to dramatic rises in inflation over the last year, the cheapest city for expats was found to be Ankara in Turkey.

For the second year in a row, Geneva was ranked as the third most expensive place to live in the world, and the most expensive in Europe. Zurich fell behind Tel Aviv in the latest ranking, making it the third most expensive city in Europe and seventh in the world. The city of Bern came 16th overall.

Zurich and Geneva remain highly expensive to live in

Zurich and Geneva are regularly voted as some of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. However, many studies agree that this is typically compensated by higher salaries and more rewarding work contracts.

The largest price increases were seen in London, New York and Reykjavik, with rental costs in the British capital rising by an alarming 20 percent over the last year. British cities have seen some of the largest rises in the cost of living, with Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Belfast all rising by an average of six places in the ranking.

Most expensive cities for expats in 2022 revealed

According to the ECA, the top 10 most expensive cities in the world for expats are:

  1. Hong Kong
  2. New York
  3. Geneva
  4. London
  5. Tokyo
  6. Tel Aviv
  7. Zurich
  8. Shanghai
  9. Guangzhou
  10. Seoul

To see how other cities in Europe and around the world performed, check out the ECA website.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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