Here Are 89 Cities More Expensive Than Toronto

London, Tokyo, Prague, San Juan, Philadelphia — many cities have higher costs of living than Toronto, according to a new survey.

By Josh Sherman | 3 minute read

Jun 28

A large consultancy has compared hundreds of cities around the world and rated them in terms of the local cost of living.

Toronto is an expensive place to call home, but there are scores of even pricier cities around the world, at least according to a recent international survey.


Mercer, a corporate and government consultancy, has ranked 227 global cities based on overall cost of living, and Toronto was the most expensive Canadian city on the list, occupying the 90th place. Last year, Toronto ranked 89th. The analysis draws from cost comparisons of more than 200 budget items, from essential expenses such as housing, food, and transportation to discretionary purchases including entertainment. Among Canadian cities, Vancouver was second (ranked 116), followed by Montreal (135), Ottawa (137), and Calgary (145).

“Based on our data, the city of Toronto would rank, for housing solely, 58th.”

“Through the Cost of Living Survey, we see that despite domestic inflationary pressures that are affecting overall quality of living, Canada continues to be an attractive destination for remote workers,” says Nicole Stewart, principal, career at Mercer Canada, in a statement. The cities with the 10 highest costs of living are spread across seven nations, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China:






Hong Kong

Hong Kong (SAR)














New York City 

United States





Tel Aviv









“New York City is used as the base city for all city ranking comparisons and currency movements are measured against the US dollar,” reads an explanation of the data from the report. Housing costs are weighted to account for 20% of a city’s ranking and only consider rents, not home prices, according to a response from Mercer Canada to follow-up questions from Wahi. The reasoning is that Mercer’s research is intended to inform clients on how much they should expect to compensate employees on international assignments.

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While home prices aren’t directly included in the analysis, it’s hard to imagine Toronto would rank any lower on the international list if they were. It would take the typical Toronto household 297.2 months to save for a downpayment on a median-priced local home, a recent report from National Bank found (that’s about 25 years). A separate study from RBC suggests that average Toronto home buyers need to shell out 85.9% of their incomes to cover the caring costs of ownership. And such high housing costs are draining billions from the local economy.

However, as we’ve seen with the cost of buying condos in downtowns around the world, when zooming out to a global view (and even taking home prices into account), it still looks like a number of other cities are — believe it or not — even more unaffordable than Toronto. 


Check out the top 100 cities on the Mercer list below, or visit the Mercer website for the full rankings


  1. Hong Kong, Hong Kong (SAR)
  2. Singapore, Singapore
  3. Zurich, Switzerland
  4. Geneva, Switzerland
  5. Basel, Switzerland
  6. New York City, United States
  7. Bern, Switzerland
  8. Tel Aviv, Israel
  9. Copenhagen, Denmark
  10. Nassau, Bahamas
  11. Los Angeles, United States
  12. Shanghai, China
  13. Beijing, China
  14. San Francisco, United States
  15. Honolulu, United States
  16. Seoul, South Korea
  17. London, United Kingdom
  18. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  19. Tokyo, Japan
  20. Shenzhen, China
  21. Boston, United States
  22. Miami, United States
  23. Washington, United States
  24. Chicago, United States
  25. Vienna, Austria
  26. Bangui, Central African Republic
  27. Djibouti, Djibouti
  28. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  29. Atlanta, United States
  30. Luanda, Angola
  31. Seattle, United States
  32. Kinshasa, The Democratic Republic of the Congo
  33. Prague, Czech Republic
  34. Helsinki, Finland
  35. Paris, France
  36. Guangzhou, China
  37. Berlin, Germany
  38. Munich, Germany
  39. Conakry, Guinea Republic
  40. N’Djamena, Chad
  41. Brussels, Belgium
  42. Victoria, Seychelles
  43. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  44. San Juan, Puerto Rico
  45. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  46. The Hague, Netherlands
  47. Lagos, Nigeria
  48. Frankfurt, Germany
  49. Milan, Italy
  50. Philadelphia, United States
  51. Dublin, Ireland
  52. Libreville, Gabon
  53. Dallas, United States
  54. Montevideo, Uruguay
  55. Qingdao, China
  56. Sydney, Australia
  57. Taipei, Taiwan
  58. Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  59. Rome, Italy
  60. Oslo, Norway
  61. Houston, United States
  62. Hamburg, Germany
  63. San Jose, Costa Rica
  64. Riga, Latvia
  65. Pittsburgh, United States
  66. Dakar, Senegal
  67. Minneapolis, United States
  68. Busan, South Korea
  69. Stuttgart, Germany
  70. Noumea, New Caledonia
  71. Melbourne, Australia
  72. Portland, United States
  73. Nanjing, China
  74. Dusseldorf, Germany
  75. Barcelona, Spain
  76. Shenyang, China
  77. Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire
  78. St. Louis, United States
  79. Mexico City, Mexico
  80. Detroit, United States
  81. Douala, Cameroon
  82. Brisbane, Australia
  83. Madrid, Spain
  84. Brazzaville, The Republic Of Congo
  85. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  86. Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  87. Santiago, Chile
  88. Cleveland, United States
  89. Chengdu, China
  90. Toronto, Canada
  91.  Leipzig, Germany
  92.  Lyon, France
  93. Osaka, Japan
  94. Canberra, Australia
  95. Stockholm, Sweden
  96.  Nuremberg, Germany
  97. Athens, Greece
  98. Manama, Bahrain
  99. Chongqing, China
  100. Tallinn, Estonia 

Josh Sherman

Wahi Writer

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