Hong Kong, Singapore and Zurich are currently the costliest cities
Hong Kong, Singapore and Zurich are currently the costliest cities for international workers. Freepik

Hong Kong, Singapore and Zurich are currently the costliest cities for international workers, according to Mercer's 2024 cost-of-living worldwide study. Which is the most expensive metro in Latin America for workers?

Mercer's ranking covers 2,261 cities around the world and assesses the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location - from housing and transportation to food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

The study, which aims to provide valuable trends and insights for those who need to make informed decisions about global mobility operations, highlights that a number of key factors have influenced the world's economy in recent years, impacting on the cost of living in major cities:

  • Inflation and exchange-rate fluctuations are directly affecting the pay and savings of internationally mobile employees (or those executing an international assignment).
  • Heightened economic and geopolitical volatility, as well as local conflicts and emergencies, have led to additional expenses in areas such as housing, utilities, local taxes and education.
  • In the case of the higher-ranking cities (Hong Kong, Singapore and Zurich), factors such as expensive housing markets, high transportation costs and higher cost of goods and services have all contributed to high living costs.
  • Conversely, in Islamabad, Lagos and Abuja the demonstrably lower costs of living of international assignees have, in part, been driven by currency depreciations.

In North America, New York City (number 7 in the global ranking) remains the most expensive city. It is followed by Nassau, Bahamas (9), Los Angeles (10), Honolulu (12), and San Francisco (13).

In Latin America, an area marked by a sharp disparity, Mexico City ranked 33rd, becoming the most expensive city in the region.

Mexico will experience the largest election in its history.
Mexico City is the most expensive metro to live in Latin America. Freepik

The appreciation of the Mexican peso against the U.S. dollar was pointed out as the main factor behind this increase in the cost of living, but also the phenomenon of nearshoring and the rise of so-called digital nomads have driven it, according to an article in Informador.mx.

At the Latin American level, following Mexico City (33), the cities listed are San José, Costa Rica (36), Montevideo, Uruguay (42), San Juan, Puerto Rico (48), Buenos Aires, Argentina (77), Monterrey, Mexico (115), São Paulo, Brazil (124), Guatemala City, Guatemala (127), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (150), Panama City, Panama (151), Santiago, Chile (160), Lima, Peru (166), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (167), Bogotá, Colombia (174), Brasília, Brazil (179), San Salvador, El Salvador (180), Tegucigalpa, Honduras (184), Belo Horizonte, Brazil (185), Asunción, Paraguay (192), La Paz, Bolivia (196), Managua, Nicaragua (197), and Havana, Cuba (217).

Within South America, Montevideo in Uruguay ranks as the most expensive location for international employees at number 42. It is followed by Buenos Aires (77) and Sao Paulo (124).

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