The 20 Most Expensive Cities for Americans Living Abroad

A skyline view of Hong Kong and Victoria Harbour.
A skyline view of Hong Kong and Victoria Harbour.
R.M. Nunes, iStock/Getty Images Plus

Each year, human resources consulting firm Mercer releases a report on the cost of living abroad in various cities around the world. Its primary function is to help multinational corporations make decisions about how much to pay employees they’re sending to work abroad, but it also may give you pause if you were thinking of turning your life into a modern-day sequel to An American in Paris called An American in Hong Kong.

As reported by Thrillist, the results of Mercer’s 2019 study are now available. In order to compile its list of 209 cities, which are ranked from most to least expensive for expats, Mercer evaluated more than 200 categories including housing, transportation, food, clothing, and entertainment, comparing them all against the U.S. dollar. Examples, in addition to those in the graphics below, include the cost of men’s blue jeans (which are most expensive in Cape Town, South Africa) as well as a fast food meal for one person (you'll pay a lot for that in Zurich, Switzerland).

Bar graph showing cinema tickets across cities with London as the most expensive

Bar graph showing espresso coffee prices across cities with Hong Kong as most expensive

Overall, Hong Kong and Tokyo are the top two most expensive cities, respectively, for the second year in a row. Singapore, Seoul, Zurich, Shanghai, and Beijing all also held on to spots in the top 10.

If that short summary just prompted a passing thought about how most of those cities are in Asia, you’re not wrong. In fact, eight of the top 10 most expensive cities are in Asia, which is due in large part to “high costs for expatriate consumer goods and a dynamic housing market,” according to Mercer's press release.

Map showing top ten most and least expensive cities across the world

For people who may be looking to move to the U.S. from abroad, the American cities that topped the list were New York (in ninth place), San Francisco (in the 16th spot), and Los Angeles (in 18th place).

Scroll down to see the top 20 most expensive places to live abroad, and check out the full rankings—including the 20 least expensive cities—here.

  1. Hong Kong
  1. Tokyo, Japan
  1. Singapore
  1. Seoul, South Korea
  1. Zurich, Switzerland
  1. Shanghai, China
  1. Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
  1. Beijing, China
  1. New York City
  1. Shenzhen, China
  1. N’Djamena, Chad
  1. Bern, Switzerland
  1. Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Victoria, Seychelles
  1. Tel Aviv, Israel
  1. San Francisco
  1. Guangzhou, China
  1. Los Angeles
  1. Osaka, Japan
  1. Copenhagen, Denmark

[h/t Thrillist]

The 20 Best States for Singles

monkeybusinessimages, iStock via Getty Images
monkeybusinessimages, iStock via Getty Images

Being single on Valentine's Day means you don't have to worry about cards, gifts, or date ideas. But if you'd like to do something romantic on February 14, your chances of snagging a date in time may depend on where you live. WalletHub crunched the numbers to create a definitive list of the best states to be single and looking for love in America.

To come up with its rankings, the personal finance site analyzed numerous data points for each state, including the proportion of single adults, nightlife and entertainment opportunities, and economic factors like cost of living. Combined, these qualities paint of picture of where you're most likely to find, afford, and enjoy a date.

Florida secured the number one position with a total score of 69.21 out of 100. Though it comes in 33rd out of the 50 states for economics, it places third for dating opportunities and fourth for romance and fun, earning it the top slot. It's followed by California with a score of 67.41 and Texas with 66.77. You can check out the top 20 states below, and see how all 50 states ranked at WalletHub.

  1. Florida // 69.21
  1. California // 67.41
  1. Texas // 66.77
  1. New York // 65.29
  1. Pennsylvania // 64.61
  1. Ohio // 63.10
  1. Illinois // 62.61
  1. Wisconsin // 61.13
  1. Massachusetts // 59.11
  1. Michigan // 58.56
  1. Arizona // 57.22
  1. New Jersey // 56.71
  1. Georgia // 56.11
  1. Colorado // 56.01
  1. North Carolina // 55.58
  1. Minnesota // 55.42
  1. Virginia // 54.98
  1. Washington // 54.76
  1. Missouri // 54.29
  1. Nevada // 53.64

The world uses Valentine's Day to celebrate romance, but you can take it as an opportunity to embrace singledom in 2020. If that's your plan, here are some vintage tips for living alone to keep in mind.

Keep Your Food and Wine Fresh for Longer With These Vacuum Lids


Despite how carefully you try to store your leftovers, most plastic containers aren't airtight, and oxygen is often the culprit behind why food and wine lose their flavor or spoil so quickly. But Equilibric is looking to solve this issue with their Freshly! vacuum lids, which they say can keep food fresh for five times longer than standard plastic containers.

The company just launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Freshly!, which you can back starting at $69. With this pledge, you'll receive three lids of different sizes, a wine seal, and the handheld vacuum used to give your food a proper seal.

The product is easy to use: Simply put the lid on whichever container you wish to seal, attach the vacuum to the air valve, press the button on the vacuum, and your food is ready to store in a matter of seconds. When you’re ready to eat, open the air valve, remove the lid, and enjoy.

When air comes into contact with your food, it can promote the growth of both mold and bacteria. Similarly, when air comes into contact with your open bottle of wine, it can kick off a process called oxidation, which is why your vino can taste flat after it's been opened. But when you use a Freshly! lid, you’re storing your food or drink in "an oxygen-less environment."

The dishwasher-safe lids are universal, so they don’t need to perfectly match the dimensions of the container you are trying to seal. The largest size measures 10 inches in diameter and it's recommended for large salad bowls, pans, and skillets; the medium lid is 7.9 inches in diameter and is best for standard-sized bowls and lunchboxes; and the smallest lid is 5.7 inches in diameter and is recommended for cups.

Vacuum-seal lids for food

According to the campaign, Freshly! lids can keep dishes like cooked chicken fresh for up to 10 days, whereas it only keeps up to five days in regular plastic containers. On average, about 30 to 40 percent of food is thrown out in America, according to the USDA. So, not only will you keep leftovers longer, but the lids can help reduce your annual food waste.

This isn’t Equilibric’s first time making equipment that helps make life in the kitchen easier. They launched a Kickstarter campaign back in March 2019 for the balanced bowl-colander hybrid that helps cooks save time and water.

The campaign has already made more than $70,000, surpassing its original $7000 goal, but you can still help bring this project to life until February 23 by heading here.

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