In 2012, Japan's capital was ranked the world's most expensive city for expatriates, bumping down last year's number one, Luanda, Angola. The ranking was part of a survey by global employment consultancy firm Mercer. As New York City is a huge economy and international hub, it was used as a base city for the survey, explains Miriam Siscovick of Mercer. (New York ranked 33 this year, down from spot number 32 last year.)
In this photo, electronic lights are burning in the Tokyo skyline with Mt. Fuji in the background.
Credit: Toshifumi Kitamaura/AFP/Getty Images
Though Angola's capital is probably not the first city one thinks of when it comes to the world's most expensive cities for expats, it is number two on this year's list. Though devastated in the past by a decades-long civil war, one primary reason the cost of living in Luanda is so high is the fact that Angola imports approximately 80% of its consumable goods, which exponentially increases the cost of items in Luanda.
In this photo, a new building is seen in the center of Luanda in January 2010.
Credit: Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images
Ranked number six last year, Osaka - Japan's third largest city - is now the third most expensive city for expatriates. Overall, three cities in Japan made it into the top ten.In this photo, cherry blossoms bloom beside the Osaka Castle in April 2012.
Credit: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images
Moscow remains the fourth most expensive city in the world for expats. It is also the costliest city in Europe to live in. According to Mercer, expats can expect to pay about $9.60 for an international newspaper.In this photo is a general view of Moscow's Komsomolskaya metro station.
Credit: Harry Engels/Getty Images
Geneva, Switzerland, remains in spot number five, largely due to the strength of the Swiss franc in recent years. City residents, however, have not been too affected by the high cost of living, as local price inflation is low due to a stable economy and relatively inexpensive imports.
In this photo, swimmers jump into Lake Geneva, as the fountain spouts in the background during the New Year's swim, on January 1, 2010.
Credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
Ranked seventh last year, Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, is currently the sixth most expensive city to live in, tied with Singapore, according to Mercer. The city is the world's largest gold trading center and The Zurich Stock Exchange (SWX Swiss Exchange) is one of the world's biggest stock exchanges.In this photo, a general view of the city from one of the towers of the Grossmunster cathedral in Zurich.
Credit: Richard A. Brooks/AFP/Getty Images
Ranked eighth last year, Singapore is currently tied with Zurich as the sixth most expensive city for expatriates. This year, Singapore's dollar has strengthened 1.1 percent versus the greenback.This photo shows a general view of the Merlion and the central business district skyline in Singapore.
Credit: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images
Though it ranked third in 2011, N'djamena, the capital and largest city in Chad, has dropped to the eighth spot this year. Due to the expense of food and other necessities, 62 percent of Chadians live below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day, according to UNICEF, an agency committed to improving the health and nutrition of children and mothers around the globe.This photo shows the central market in the center of N'djamena.
Credit: Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images
Hong Kong remains the ninth most expensive city for expatriates to live in. Rising costs in rent are a big factor - a city center apartment can cost over $6,500 a month to rent, according to U.K. newspaper "The Guardian". In this photo, people stand on the "Peak" as they look at the Hong Kong skyline.
Credit: MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images
Nagoya, Japan, just made the top ten list of cities after ranking 11th last year. The Mercer survey was based on the cost of over 200 items in each location, including transportation, food, clothing, and housing costs, which is one of the most important factors for expats. It was designed to help international centers and governments to determine compensation allowances for their expat employees.In this photo, the "Kaiwomaru" arrives at Port of Nagoya to celebrate the 100 years anniversary of the port in November 2007.