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The World's Most Expensive Places to Live 2012

The Most Expensive Places To Live

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Europe’s debt crisis, slowing growth in the U.S. and worries about a hard landing in China. Even if you’ve kept your job this past year, you’ve probably had plenty to worry about. But how about the rising cost of living?According to a new report from human resources firm Mercer Consulting, the cost of living in North American, Asian and African cities has been rising this past year, despite the global slowdown.The study looked at 214 cities worldwide and used New York City as the benchmark. Merc
Photo: Ian McKinnell | Getty Images

Europe’s debt crisis, slowing growth in the U.S. and worries about a hard landing in China: Even if you’ve kept your job this past year, you’ve probably had plenty to worry about. But how about the rising cost of living?

According to a new report from human resources firm Mercer Consulting, the cost of living in North American, Asian and African cities has been rising this past year, despite the global slowdown.

The study looked at 214 cities worldwide and used New York City as the benchmark. Mercer’s annual cost of living survey is used by multinational companies to determine compensation for their expatriate employees around the world. The rankings are based on the cost of more than 200 items in each location including housing, transportation, food, clothing and entertainment.

So, which cities are the most expensive to live in? Click ahead to find out.

By Rajeshni Naidu-Ghelani(Posted June 12, 2012)

10. Nagoya, Japan

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The cost of living in Nagoya has risen rapidly in the past few years, with the city breaking into the top 10 for the first time in 2012 from 11th in 2011 and 19th in 2010.Nagoya is Japan’s auto manufacturing hub, and an important place of business for some of the world’s leading carmakers like Toyota, Honda, General Motors and Volkswagen.Expats are generally drawn to the city because of its large industrial sector. Demand for housing in the densely populated area, which is the third largest in J
Photo: Jantelagen | Mark McDonald | Getty Images

The cost of living in Nagoya has risen rapidly in the past few years, with the city breaking into the top 10 for the first time in 2012 from 11th in 2011 and 19th in 2010.

Nagoya is Japan’s auto manufacturing hub, and an important place of business for some of the world’s leading carmakers like Toyota, Honda, General Motors and Volkswagen.

Expats are generally drawn to the city because of its large industrial sector. Demand for housing in the densely populated area, which is the third-largest in Japan, has driven up the cost of housing.

Still, the cost of renting a luxury two-bedroom apartment in Nagoya is around half the cost of renting in Tokyo. But Nagoya is as expensive as Tokyo when it comes to the cost of a cup of coffee, fuel or a fast-food meal. To top it off, a surging yen has resulted in higher prices in general for expats living in Japan.

Monthly Rent, Luxury 2 Bedroom: $2,551
Cup of Coffee: $6.38
One Gallon of Gasoline: $6.70
Daily International Newspaper: $6.38
Fast-Food Meal: $8.42

Pictured: Nagoya's downtown area

9. Hong Kong

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Hong Kong, the only Chinese city or territory to make the top 10 list, has been ranked the ninth most expensive place to live for the past two years, falling from the eighth spot in 2010.One of the most substantial increases in the cost of living in Hong Kong has been in renting property. The average monthly rent for a luxury two-bedroom apartment jumped around $1,300 from $5,800 in 2011 to almost $7,100 this year. As one of the most densely populated cities in the world with limited housing sup
Photo: Joe Chen Photography | Getty Images

Hong Kong, the only Chinese city or territory to make the top 10 list, has been ranked the ninth most expensive place to live for the past two years, falling from the eighth spot in 2010.

One of the most substantial increases in the cost of living in Hong Kong has been in renting property. The average monthly rent for a luxury two-bedroom apartment jumped around $1,300 from $5,800 in 2011 to almost $7,100 this year. As one of the most densely populated cities in the world with limited housing supply, average house prices have skyrocketed over 93 percent between 2006 and 2011 — making Hong Kong the world’s second-hottest property market, according to real estate consultancy Knight Frank.

Hong Kong’s reputation as a major global financial center remains a big draw for international businesses and expatriates, which in turn pushes up the cost of living. The cost of food and fuel has also gone up from last year with headline inflation jumping nearly 5 percent in April.

Monthly Rent, Luxury 2 Bedroom: $7,092
Cup of Coffee: $6.83
One Gallon of Gasoline: $8.36
Daily International Newspaper: $3.61
Fast-Food Meal: $3.54

Pictured: Kowloon West, Hong Kong

8. N’ Djamena, Chad

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N’Djamena, the capital and economic center of the central African country of Chad, fell five spots this year from third place in 2011 and 2010.The key reason behind the high cost of living in N’Djamena is the difficulty in finding suitable and safe accommodation for expatriates, making the few available places extremely expensive. Companies must also take into account the personal safety of employees in the violence-mired city, further adding to costs.The influx of expatriates working in Chad’s
Photo: Kanbou Sia | AFP | Getty Images

N’Djamena, the capital and economic center of the central African country of Chad, fell five spots this year from third place in 2011 and 2010.

The key reason behind the high cost of living in N’Djamena is the difficulty in finding suitable and safe accommodations for expatriates, making the few available places extremely expensive. Companies must also take into account the personal safety of employees in the violence-mired city, further adding to costs.

The influx of expatriates working in Chad’s oil industry has pushed up the cost of living, with a fast-food meal costing as much as $25. Chad’s oil fields have attracted a number of international energy giants such as China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Malaysia’s state-run Petronas. Chad saw investments of more than $8 billion in 2011 by Chinese firms keen to cash in on the country’s energy industry.

Monthly Rent, Luxury 2 Bedroom: N/A
Cup of Coffee: $3.32
One Gallon of Gasoline: $6.55
Daily International Newspaper: $6.85
Fast-Food Meal: $25.18

Pictured: Market in N'Djamena

6. Singapore (Tied)

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Photo: Wsboon Images | Getty Images

Singapore, like other Asian financial centers, has seen a big inflow of expatriates, which has pushed up the cost of housing and other living costs.

The city has been moving up Mercer’s most expensive cities list, rising two spots this year from eighth in 2011 and 11th in 2010. Known for its high property prices and rents compared to the rest of Southeast Asia, Singapore is also an extremely expensive place to own a car. The permit to buy a new car can cost anywhere between $46,000 to over $67,000. Prices of these 10-year permits, known as Certificate of Entitlement (COE), have
jumped 40 percent