Vancouver ranks 96th in Mercer's most expensive cities (for expats)

The skyline of Vancouver, Canada
The skyline of Vancouver, Canada's most expensive city to live in – but worldwide, B.C.'s largest town is relatively cheap for a global city.
— image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Yes, Vancouver is expensive.

But compared to other cities around the globe, B.C.'s largest town is relatively cheap. To move to, at least.

Vancouver ranked 96th in Mercer's 2014 Cost of Living list, dropping down from 64th in 2013. It's still the most expensive in Canada, as Toronto (101st), Montreal (123rd), and Calgary (125th) all ranked further down the list.

Two African cities were named the most expensive in the world, with Luanda, Angola topping N'Djamena, Chad atop the 2013 rankings.

Hong Kong came third, up form sixth in 2013. Singapore finished fourth, ahead of Zurich and Geneva, which finished fifth and sixth.

Another Swiss city – Bern – finished in eighth, giving the hilly country three entries in the most expensive's top 10. Tokyo, Japan finished seventh, while Moscow, Russia finished ninth.

Shanghai and Beijing, China finished 10th and 11th.

Mercer's rankings "compare the cost of living for expatriates in 211 cities worldwide" and it measures 200 factors, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

"The survey helps multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for employees on international assignments," Mercer's report reads.

The report doesn't necessarily rank cities by their cost of living for locals, but more by their cost for foreigners to move to – and for goods to move to.

"While Luanda and N'Djamena are relatively inexpensive cities, they are quite costly for expatriates since imported goods come at a premium," said Mercer consultant Noel O'Connor to Business Insider.

"In addition, finding secure living accommodations that meet the standards of expatriates can be challenging and quite costly as well. This is generally why some African cities rank high in our survey."

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