This list does not account for cost-of-living savings accrued to local citizens through government-subsidized housing, health care, and education, differences in taxation, and many other factors irrelevant to expatriates. Cost of living may be much higher for expatriates than for local residents in a developing country, especially if expatriates expect a standard of living similar to a developed country.
Singapore (Chinese: 新加坡, Xīnjiāpō; Malay: Singapura; Tamil: சிங்கப்பூர், Cingkappūr), officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island city-state located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, lying 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the equator, south of the Malaysian state of Johor and north of Indonesia's Riau Islands. At 710.2 km2 (274.2 sq mi),Singapore is a microstate and the smallest nation in Southeast Asia. This is substantially larger than Monaco and Vatican City, the only other surviving sovereign city-states.
Before European settlement, the island now known as Singapore was the site of a Malay fishing village at the mouth of the Singapore River. Several hundred indigenous Orang Laut people also lived along the nearby coast, rivers and on smaller islands. In 1819, the British East India Company, led by Sir Stamford Raffles, established a trading post on the island, which was used as a port along the spice route.Singapore became one of the most important commercial and military centres of the British Empire, and the hub of British power in Southeast Asia.
During the Second World War, the British colony was occupied by the Japanese after the Battle of Singapore, which Winston Churchill called "Britain's greatest defeat".Singapore reverted to British rule in 1945, immediately after the war. Eighteen years later, in 1963, the city, having achieved independence from Britain, merged with Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak to form Malaysia. However, the merger proved unsuccessful, and, less than two years later, it seceded from the federation and became an independent republic within the Commonwealth of Nations on August 9, 1965. Singapore was admitted to the United Nations on September 21 of that year.
Since independence, Singapore's standard of living has risen dramatically. Foreign direct investment and a state-led drive to industrialization based on plans drawn up by the Dutch economist Albert Winsemius have created a modern economy focused on industry, education and urban planning.Singapore is the 5th wealthiest country in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita.In December 2008, the foreign exchange reserves of this small island nation stood at around US$174.2billion.The Singapore government, with approval from the President, announced in March 2009 that it would tap into their official reserves for the first time ever and withdraw some S$4.9 billion. The funds were then used as part of the S$20.5 billion resilience package unveiled by Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on 5 February 2009. As of January 2009, Singapore's official reserves stands at US$170.3 billion.
In 2009, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Singapore the tenth most expensive city in the world in which to live—the third in Asia, after Tokyo and Osaka.The 2009 Cost of Living survey, by consultancy firm Mercer, has ranked Singapore similarly as the tenth most expensive city for expatriates to live in.
The population of Singapore including non-residents is approximately 4.86 million. Singapore is highly cosmopolitan and diverse with Chinese people forming an ethnic majority with large populations of Malay, Indian and other people. English, Malay, Tamil, and Chinese are the official languages.
Singapore is a parliamentary republic, and the Constitution of Singapore establishes representative democracy as the nation's political system.The People's Action Party (PAP) dominates the political process and has won control of Parliament in every election since self-government in 1959.
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9) Beijing, People's Republic of China
Beijing (pronounced /beɪˈdʒɪŋ/ or /beɪˈʒɪŋ/ in English; Chinese: 北京; pinyin: Běijīng, IPA: [pèɪtɕíŋ] (Speaker Icon.svg listen); Wade-Giles: Pei3ching1 or Pei3-ching1) (also known as Peking (/piːˈkɪŋ/ (Speaker Icon.svg listen) or /peɪˈkɪŋ/)) is a metropolis in northern China and the capital of the People's Republic of China. Governed as a municipality under direct administration of the central government, Beijing borders Hebei Province to the north, west, south, and for a small section in the east, and Tianjin Municipality to the southeast.Beijing is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China.
Beijing is China's second largest city after Shanghai, with more than 17 million people in Beijing's area of jurisdiction. The city is divided into 16 urban and suburban districts and two rural counties; the city's urban area has about 13 million residents. Beijing is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and motorways passing through the city. It is also the focal point of many international flights to China. Beijing is recognized as the political, educational, and cultural center of the People's Republic of China, while Shanghai and Hong Kong predominate in economic fields.The city hosted the 2008 Olympic Games.
Few cities in the world besides Beijing have served as the political and cultural centre of an area as immense as China for so long. The Encyclopædia Britannica describes it as "one of the world's great cities," and declares that the city has been an integral part of China’s history for centuries, there is scarcely a major building of any age in Beijing that doesn't have at least some national historical significance. Beijing is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, and huge stone walls and gates. Its art treasures and universities have long made the city a centre of culture and art in China.
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8) New York City, United States
New York (en-us-New York.ogg /nuːˈjɔrk/) is the most populous city in the United States, and the center of the New York metropolitan area, which is among the most populous urban areas in the world. A leading global city, New York exerts a powerful influence over worldwide commerce, finance, culture, fashion and entertainment. As host of the United Nations headquarters, it is also an important center for international affairs. The city is often referred to as New York City to differentiate it from the state of New York, of which it is a part.
Located on a large natural harbor on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States, the city consists of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. The city's 2007 estimated population exceeds 8.3 million people,and with a land area of 305 square miles (790 km2),New York City is the most densely populated major city in the United States. The New York metropolitan area's population is also the nation's largest, estimated at 18.8 million people over 6,720 square miles (17,400 km2). Furthermore, the Combined Statistical Area containing the Greater New York City metropolitan area contained 21.962 million people as of 2007 Census estimates, also the largest in the United States.
New York was founded as a commercial trading post by the Dutch in 1624. The settlement was called New Amsterdam until 1664 when the colony came under English control. New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790. It has been the country's largest city since 1790.
Many neighborhoods and landmarks in the city have become world-famous. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Wall Street, in Lower Manhattan, has been a dominant global financial center since World War II and is home to the New York Stock Exchange. The city has been home to several of the tallest buildings in the world, including the Empire State Building and the twin towers of the former World Trade Center.
The City is the birthplace of many cultural movements, including the Harlem Renaissance in literature and visual art, abstract expressionism (also known as the New York School) in painting, and hip hop, punk,salsa, disco and Tin Pan Alley in music. It is the home of Broadway theater.
New York is notable among American cities for its high use of mass transit, most of which runs 24 hours per day, and for the overall density and diversity of its population. In 2005, nearly 170 languages were spoken in the city and 36% of its population was born outside the United States.The city is sometimes referred to as "The City that Never Sleeps", while other nicknames include The Capital of the world, Gotham, and the Big Apple.
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7) Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen (pronounced /ˈkoʊpənheɪɡən/); Danish: København pronounced [kʰøb̥ənˈhaʊ̯ˀn] (Speaker Icon.svg listen)) is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban area with a population of 1,167,569 (2009) and a metropolitan area with a population of 1,875,179 (2009). Copenhagen is situated on the Islands of Zealand and Amager.
First documented in the 11th century, Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark in the beginning of the 15th century and during the 17th century under the reign of Christian IV it became an important regional centre. With the completion of the transnational Oresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region with around 3.7 million inhabitants covering an area of 20,869 km² (177/km²). Within this region, Copenhagen and Malmö are in the process of growing into one common metropolitan area. Copenhagen is the most visited city of the Nordic countries with 1.375 million international tourists in 2006
Copenhagen is a major regional center of culture, business, media, and science. In 2008 Copenhagen was ranked #4 by Financial Times-owned FDi magazine on their list of Top50 European Cities of the Future after London, Paris and Berlin. In the 2008 Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index, published by MasterCard, Copenhagen was ranked 14th in the world and 1st in Scandinavia. In the The 2008 Global Cities Index, Copenhagen was ranked 36th in the world, 15th in Europe, and 2nd in Scandinavia. Life science, information technology and shipping are important sectors and research & development plays a major role in the city's economy. Its strategic location and excellent infrastructure with the largest airport in Scandinavia located 14 minutes by train from the city centre, has made it a regional hub and a popular location for regional headquarters as well as conventions. With around 2.7 million inhabitants within a 50 km radius, Copenhagen is one of the most densely populated areas in Northern Europe. Copenhagen region ranks 3rd in Western Europe and 1st in the Nordic countries for attracting head offices.
Copenhagen has repeatedly been recognized as one of the cities with the best quality of life and in 2008 it was singled out as the Most Liveable City in the World by international lifestyle magazine Monocle on their Top 25 Most Liveable Cities 2008 list. It is also considered one of the world's most environmentally friendly cities with the water in the inner harbor being so clean that it can be used for swimming and 36% of all citizens commuting to work by bicycle, every day bicycling a total 1.1 million km. Since the turn of the millennium Copenhagen has seen a strong urban and cultural development and has been described as a boom town. This is partly due to massive investments in cultural facilities as well as infrastructure and a new wave of successful designers, chefs and architects. Travellers have voted Copenhagen the cleanest city in Europe.
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Zürich or Zurich (pronounced /ˈzʊərɪk/, /ˈzjʊərɪk/, or /ˈzɜrɪk/; German pronunciation: [ˈtsyːʁɪç] (Speaker Icon.svg listen); Zürich German: Züri [ˈtsyɾi]; French: Zurich [zyʁik]; Italian: Zurigo [dzuˈɾiːɡo]; Romansh: Turitg) is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zürich. The city is Switzerland's main commercial and cultural centre and sometimes called the Cultural Capital of Switzerland, the political capital of Switzerland being Berne. Zürich can be counted as one of the world's pre-eminent global cities. According to several surveys from 2006 to 2009, Zürich was named the city with the best quality of life in the world as well as the wealthiest city in Europe. Zürich is also ranked the sixth most expensive city in the world. In 2008, Zürich was ranked ninth. The city ranked behind Hong Kong and ahead of Copenhagen. It is the third most expensive city in Europe and second most expensive city in Switzerland after Geneva.The Zürich metropolitan area has a population of about 1.68 million people.
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5) Hong Kong
Hong Kong (Chinese: 香港; pinyin: Xiānggǎng; Cantonese Yale: Hēunggóng), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, is a territory of the People's Republic of China, facing Guangdong to the north and the South China Sea to the east, west and south. Hong Kong is a global metropolitan and international financial centre, and has a highly developed capitalist economy. Under the "one country, two systems" policy and according to Basic Law, it has a "high degree of autonomy" in all areas except foreign affairs and defence, which are the responsibility of the PRC Government. Hong Kong maintains its own currency, legal system, political system, immigration control, rule of the road and other aspects that concern its way of life, many of which are distinct from mainland China.
Beginning as a trading port, Hong Kong became a crown colony of the United Kingdom in 1842. It was reclassified as a British dependent territory in 1983 until the transfer of sovereignty to the People's Republic of China in 1997. Renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour, its identity as a cosmopolitan centre where the East meets the West is reflected in its cuisine, cinema, music and traditions. The city's population is 95% Han ethnicity and 5% other. With a population of 7 million people and a land area of 1,054 km2 (407 sq mi), Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
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4) Geneva, Switzerland
Geneva (French: Genève, German: Genf De-Genf.ogg Genf (help·info), Italian: Ginevra, Romansh: Genevra) is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland (after Zürich) and is the most populous city of Romandie (the French-speaking part of Switzerland). Situated where the Rhône River exits Lake Geneva (in French also known as Lac Léman), it is the capital of the Republic and Canton of Geneva.
The city proper had a population of 186,825 in June 2008, and the metropolitan area had 812,000 residents, according to a 2007 census. The Geneva metropolitan area extends partly over Switzerland (517,000 inhabitants) and partly over France (293,000 inhabitants).
Geneva is a worldwide centre for diplomacy and international cooperation, and is widely regarded as a global city, mainly because of the presence of numerous international organisations, including the headquarters of many of the agencies of the United Nations and the Red Cross. It is also the place where the Geneva Conventions were signed, which chiefly concern the treatment of wartime non-combatants and prisoners of war.
Geneva has been described as the world's sixth most important financial centre by the Global Financial Centres Index, ahead of Tokyo, Chicago, Frankfurt and Sydney, and a 2009 survey by Mercer found Geneva to have the third-highest quality of life in the world (narrowly outranked by Zürich). The city has been referred to as the world's most compact metropolis and the "Peace Capital".
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3) Moscow, Russia
Moscow (pronounced /ˈmɒskaʊ/ or pronounced /ˈmɒskoʊ/ in English, Russian: Москва, romanised: Moskva, IPA: ru-Moskva.ogg [mɐˈskva] (help·info); see also other names) is the capital and the largest city of Russia. It is also the largest metropolitan area in Europe, and ranks among the largest urban areas in the world. Moscow is a major political, economic, cultural, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the world, a global city. It is also the seventh largest city proper in the world, a megacity. The population of Moscow (as of 1 June 2009) is 10,524,400.
It is located on the Moscow River in the Central Federal District, in the European part of Russia. Historically, it was the capital of the former Soviet Union, Tsardom of Russia and the Grand Duchy of Moscow. It is the site of the Moscow Kremlin, one of the World Heritage Sites in the city, which serves as the residence of the President of Russia. The Russian parliament (the State Duma and the Federation Council) and the Government of Russia also sit in Moscow.
Moscow is a major economic centre and is home to one of the largest numbers of billionaires in the world; in 2008 Moscow was named the world's most expensive city for foreign employees for the third year in a row. However, in 2009, Moscow moved to third after Tokyo and Osaka came in first and second, respectively.
It is home to many scientific and educational institutions, as well as numerous sport facilities. It possesses a complex transport system, that includes 3 international airports, 9 railroad terminals, and the world's second busiest (after Tokyo) metro system which is famous for its architecture and artwork. Its metro is the busiest single-operator subway in the world.
Over time, the city has earned a variety of nicknames, most referring to its pre-eminent status in the nation: The Third Rome (Третий Рим), Whitestone (Белокаменная), The First Throne (Первопрестольная), The Forty Forties (Сорок Сороков.)
A person from Moscow is called a Muscovite in English, Moskvich in Russian.
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2) Osaka, Japan
saka (大阪市, Ōsaka-shi?) ja-Osaka.ogg listen (help·info) is a city in Japan, located at the mouth of the Yodo River on Osaka Bay, in the Kansai region of the main island of Honshū.
Osaka is a designated city under the Local Autonomy Law and the capital city of Osaka Prefecture. Osaka has historically been the commercial capital of Japan, and is at the heart of Japan's second largest metropolitan area of Keihanshin (Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto), whose population is 18,643,915.
The ratio between daytime and night time population is 141%, the highest in Japan, highlighting its status as an economic center. Its nighttime population is 2.6 million, the third in the country, but in daytime the population surges to 3.7 million, second only after Tokyo. Osaka has traditionally been referred to as the "nation's kitchen" (天下の台所, tenka no daidokoro?), or the mecca of gourmet food.
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1) Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo (東京, Tōkyō?), officially Tokyo Metropolis (東京都, Tōkyō-to?), is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan and is located on the eastern side of the main island Honshū. The twenty-three special wards of Tokyo, each governed as a city, cover the area that was once the city of Tokyo in the eastern part of the prefecture, totaling over 8 million people. The population of the prefecture exceeds 12 million. The prefecture is the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, the world's most populous metropolitan area with 35 million people and the world's largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$1.191 trillion at purchasing power parity in 2005.
Tokyo was described by Saskia Sassen as one of the three "command centers" for the world economy, along with London and New York City. This city is considered an alpha+ world city, listed by the GaWC's 2008 inventory and ranked fourth among global cities by Foreign Policy's 2008 Global Cities Index. In 2009 Tokyo was named the world's most expensive city for expatriate employees, according to the Mercer Human Resource Consulting and Economist Intelligence Unit cost-of-living surveys and named the third Most Liveable City and the World’s Most Livable Megalopolis by international lifestyle magazine Monocle.
Tokyo is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family.
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