London cheaper option for expats in global cost of living rankings

Credit card payment-2Living in London as an expat has become a more attractive choice on the basis of the cost of living in 375 global cities.

London has moved down from 12th to be 17th most expensive city to live and work as an expatriate in the annual rankings by HR and consulting company Mercer.  But it is still the most expensive city in Europe with the exception of those in Switzerland – Zurich, Geneva and Bern are higher up the cost league.

Other UK cities have also become comparatively cheaper.  Aberdeen has move down to 85 from 82 last year and Birmingham is 96th in 2016 compared to 80th in 2015.  Mercer say that the strength of the pound against the dollar in the past 12 months has been a factor as dollars are used as the base currency for calculations.

The most expensive city in the world for an expat is Hong Kong, according to Mercer research. Last year’s most expensive city, Luanda, drops to second place.  Five of the top ten are Asian cities, three of them in China.

Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2016 – 10 most expensive
City Country Continent
1 Hong Kong China Asia
2 Luanda Angola Africa
3 Zurich Switzerland Europe
4 Singapore Singapore Asia
5 Tokyo Japan Asia
6 Kinshasa Dem Republic of Congo Africa
7 Shanghai China Asia
8 Geneva Switzerland Europe
9 N’Djamena Chad Africa
10 Beijing China Asia

In Europe, apart from the Swiss cities and London, the only cities in the top 50 globally are  Copenhagen, Paris and Dublin.

Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2016 – Europe’s most expensive
City Country
Zurich Switzerland
Geneva Switzerland
Bern Switzerland
London UK
Copenhagen Denmark
Paris France
Milan Italy
Vienna Austria
Rome Italy
Oslo Norway

The survey looks at the cost of 200 items in each city including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.  The cost of housing helped push Hong Kong to the top of the rankings, but London comes out as expensive for a number of everyday purchases.

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London ranked as top global city destination


London has been ranked as the world’s top destination for international visitors with an estimated 18.82 million people expected to stay overnight in the city in 2015. London has topped the rankings carried out by Mastercard as part of its Global Cities Destination Index for 5 of the past 7 years.

The index looks at how 132 of the world’s most important cities are connected by air travel, him many international visitors they receive and the amount those visitors spend. Visitor numbers are based on data from governments and tourist boards and the role of some cities, like London, as a flight hub is factored in.

London remains slightly ahead of Bangkok, with global city rivals Paris and New York also in the top 10.

International visitors

The top feeder city for visitors to London is New York, accounting for nearly 1 million people. Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt and Stockholm, make up the top 5, but London has a very diversified source of visitors with 50% coming from 26 different cities. In comparison, 50% of Bangkok’s visitors come from just 13 cities.

London tops the list for spending by international visitors. Mastercard estimates that this will be a little over $20 billion in 2015, that’s 16% above its nearest rival in the spending league, New York.

And London also heads the index as the world’s leading flight hub. Mastercard looked at connectivity and the frequency of non-stop flights to international destinations scoring London ahead of Paris, Dubai, Frankfurt and Istanbul.

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London “most influential” global city

London flies flag for West as East leads global growth ranking

Amid Heathrow-Gatwick battle smaller airports fuel passenger growth


London flies flag for West as East leads global growth ranking

aerial river nightLondon is the only western city to feature in the top 30 places for economic and employment growth in a ranking of the 300 largest metropolitan areas in the world.

The rankings are carried out by the respected American think tank, the Brookings Institution for its annual Global Metro Monitor report. Brookings looks at the growth in GDP per capita (the sum of the market value of all goods and services produced divided by the population) in each city, plus the growth in jobs.

The results for 2013-14 show that three quarters of the fastest growing cities are in the developing areas of Asia-Pacific, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. The only city in Western Europe and North America is London, ranked in 26th place.

Position City Country Region
1 Macau China Developing Asia-Pacific
2 Izmir Turkey Eastern Europe/Central Asia
3 Bursa Turkey Eastern Europe/Central Asia
4 Dubai UAE Middle East/Africa
5 Kunming China Developing Asia-Pacific
26 London UK Western Europe

London went up 32 places from last last year with GDP per capita growth of 2.5% and employment growth of 3.6%. London’s traditional rivals in the global cities stakes fared poorly. New York was placed at 176 and Paris at 260.

Other UK cities performed well with Manchester at 60, Edinburgh at 71 and Bristol at 79 in the rankings.

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See also:

London “most influential” global city

NY beats London in economic power

The dating data for lovelorn Londoners

hThanks to London listings magazine, Time Out, we now know that British is the sexiest accent in the world.  From reading the reports about its Global Dating Survey it appears that a shout of “You’re  only supposed to blow the bloody doors off’ could have the world swooning at your feet. But the survey of 11,000 people in 24 cities had a few more insights for Londoners looking for love.  And to prove that Urbs.London cares about dating as much as we care about data, here are a few of our favourite survey facts:

  1. More that 50% of Londoners decide in the first 2-3 minutes whether they will be going on a second date with a person
  2. 58% of you believe that bad breath is a complete dating deal-breaker
  3. Over half of you will try to do some online investigation about a prospective date before you meet
  4. 13% of women would say yes to dating an artist or creative type  – that’s more any other city in the survey
  5. 12% of men fancy hooking up with a designer or someone in the fashion industry – making these the hottest occupations

London came out a poor 6th in the dating league table put together by Time Out, based on their survey result, with some weighting for the number of people taking part in each place.  While French may not be the most attractive accent it appears that Paris is still the best place to pull.



London “most influential” global city

city towersLondon is the most influential city in the world thanks to its pre-eminence as a global financial capital and its location, according to business publisher Forbes.

While the United Kingdom is described as a “second-rate power” the capital leads the list for global influence judged by 8 criteria.  Researchers ranked cities according to the amount of foreign direct investment they have attracted, the concentration of corporate headquarters, number of business niches they dominate,  ease of air travel to other global cities, strength of services like legal and accountancy, financial services, technology and media power, and racial diversity.

The top five cities were:

  1. London
  2. New York
  3. Paris
  4. Singapore
  5. Tokyo

Location plays an important role in London’s ranking. Forbes says that being outside the US and the eurozone keeps it away from, what it called, “unfriendly regulators”. It has the second best air connections in the world, beaten only by Dubai. And it has a time-zone advantage over American in doing business with Asia.

History and tradition play a part too. Forbes says that London is the birthplace of the cultural, legal and business practices that define capitalism.  As the home of the English language it boasts a powerful position in media and advertising.  London has also become Europe’s leading tech start up city

New York came second in the Forbes list though in separate rankings for economic power and as a smart city, both reported by Urbs, it outperformed London.  The top two were some way ahead of third place Paris in all criteria. Singapore was the leading Asian city outperforming the mega cities of China and Japan. Dubai is the only city in the Middle East to make the top 10, thanks, says Forbes, to its globalisation strategy and a population diversity that has made it the crossroads of the world.

The size of the cities was of less importance. Of the top 10 on the list only 3, New York, Tokyo and Beijing, are ranked in the top 10 of the world’s most populous cities.  The cities of the so-called BRIC nations are becoming more important and Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai are all in the top 20. Poor infrastructure means it will be some time before Brazil and India break into the top flight of these rankings, says Forbes.

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Where in the world would you like to work?

commuters copyWhen 200,000 people in 189 countries were asked which city they’d consider moving to for work the most popular answer was London. 16% chose it,  with New York second with 12.2%, Paris third with 8.9%, and Sydney and Madrid making up the top 5.

One of the key reasons that people gave for choosing London was the cosmopolitan make up of the population, which made settling in the city less daunting and more welcoming.  As reported by Urbs, 3 million people in London were born outside the UK.

London enjoys a reputation as a leading financial and cultural centre and the English language also makes settling more easily. English is the most widely spoken second language.

When asked to identify which country they would favour the US came top, with the UK second and Canada third.  The only UK city that features in the top 30 choices is London, underlining how the capital dominates at the expense of other UK cities.  In comparison the top 30 includes 3 cities in the US and Canada, and 2 each in Spain, Germany and Australia.

The survey was carried out by consulting company BCG and recruitment website The Network.

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