|Top 5 cities: Americas |
- São Paulo, Brazil (12th)
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (13th)
- Caracas, Venezuela (29th)
- New York, United States (33rd)
- Brasilia, Brazil (45th)
The cost of living for most cities in the Americas remained stable in the 12 months since the 2011 Mercer Cost of Living rankings release. In addition to the inflation-driven ranking jumps for Buenos Aires and for Caracas (see below) and Havana’s drop due to a depreciating Cuban convertible peso, San José, Costa Rica, where accommodation costs grew considerably, rose 27 spots in the rankings, but the city continues to allow for a relatively low cost of living for expatriates, at 138 in the world.
US cities became somewhat more expensive in the last 12 months, as the US dollar gained in value in the past year relative to many currencies. Los Angeles is the second most expensive North American city, at number 68 in the world. San Francisco had the highest jump in the sub-region, gaining 16 positions to enter the top 100 in our rankings in the 90th spot.
In Canada, Toronto and Vancouver are the most expensive cities ranked, at 61st and 63rd. Los Angeles is the next most expensive North American city, at number 68.
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is the cheapest North American city Mercer ranked in 2012, at number 195 in the world, while Managua, Nicaragua, is cheapest in all of the Americas and had the third-lowest cost of living globally, landing in 212th position.
São Paulo, (12th), Rio de Janeiro (13th) and Brasilia (45th)
Economic growth in Brazil slowed in 2011, with the county’s GDP expanding 2.7% (versus 7.5% in 2010). Meanwhile, the Euro zone crisis made the US dollar a more in-demand currency in Brazil, according to its finance minister, leading to a nearly 3% depreciation of the Brazilian real against the US dollar. This led to the three Brazilian cities in our 2012 Cost of Living ranking to drop slightly. But the cost of living for expatriates remains high, and Brazil’s cities are the most expensive in both North and South America.
Caracas shot up 22 places in Mercer’s rankings between 2011 and 2012. Price inflation in Venezuela remains high. A limited residential market also contributes to the high cost of living in Venezuela’s capital.
New York (33rd)
Although the cost of living in New York, which we use as the base city in our rankings, was stable in the past 12 months, the city dropped one spot in the rankings as a result of the cost of living in several cities in Asia-Pacific and South America rising. New York remains the most expensive city in North America.