The 2011 Worldwide cost of living survey ranks Luanda in Angola as the most expensive city for expatriates. Toronto was ranked 59th, Vancouver 65th, Montreal 79th, Calgary 96th and Ottawa 114th making it the least expensive city to live in Canada .
The Mercer survey takes into account 214 cities across 5 continents and works similarly to the Consumer price index (CPI). It reviews the cost of over 200 items in each city including housing, transport, food, clothing, household, goods and entertainment. It used New York City as the base city and compares the other cities against it, using the US dollar as the base currency. Although it takes a look at over 200 items the cost of housing has the most influence on city ranking as it is usually the largest expense for expatriates.
This kind of survey is extremely important as it is extremely important employers understand the impact of currency fluctuation, inflation, political instability and natural disasters as they greatly influence the cost of living in different cities. Therefore allowing knowledgeable employers to better control costs, retain talented employees and to offer more competitive compensation packages.
More information about the 2011 survey on the Forum for Expatriate Management