Mercer’s Cost of Living Report: Mumbai Most Expensive City for Expats in India

Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2023

According to Mercer’s Cost of Living report, Mumbai has been identified as the most expensive city in India for expatriates. The report further ranks New Delhi and Bengaluru as the second and third most expensive cities respectively for expats in India.

About the Mercer’s Cost of Living Report

Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey is a biannual survey that compares the cost of living in cities around the world.

  • Mercer, a global human resources consulting firm, releases the Mercer Cost of Living Survey.
  • The survey is based on a basket of goods and services that are commonly purchased by expatriates.
  • The basket includes items such as housing, food, transportation, clothing, and entertainment.
  • The prices of these items are collected in each city and then compared to the prices in a base city, which is typically New York City


  • The Mercer Cost of Living Survey is a valuable tool for multinational companies that need to determine how much to pay their employees when they are sent on international assignments.
  • The survey can also be used by individuals who are considering moving to a new city to get an idea of the cost of living there.

The 2023 Mercer Cost of Living Survey

  • The Mercer’s Cost of Living report reveals that globally, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Zurich are the most expensive cities for international employees in the current year.
  • The survey covered 227 cities across five continents, measuring the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.
  • According to the report, Havana experienced a significant drop in rankings due to strong currency devaluations, resulting in it being one of the least expensive locations.
  • Additionally, two cities in Pakistan, Karachi and Islamabad, were also identified as relatively affordable in the ranking.

India and Asia

According to Mercer’s 2023 Cost of Living survey, Indian cities have seen a change in their global ranking. Mumbai is positioned at 147, followed by New Delhi at 169, Chennai at 184, Bengaluru at 189, Hyderabad at 202, Kolkata at 211, and Pune at 213.

  • The report highlights that cities like Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Pune offer accommodation costs that are more than 50 percent lower than Mumbai.
  • Kolkata, in particular, has the lowest cost of expatriate accommodation among the surveyed Indian cities.
  • The shifting order in the ranking is attributed to various factors, including currency volatility and inflationary increases in prices of goods and services in other regions, such as Europe, which have influenced the overall rankings of Indian cities.
  • Mumbai and Delhi are considered cost-efficient destinations for global multinational corporations (MNCs) looking to establish operations overseas, with a lower cost of living and expat accommodation costs compared to major cities in the Asia Pacific region like Shanghai, Beijing, and Tokyo.
  • In the Asian cities ranking, Mumbai and Delhi are among the top 35 most expensive cities for expatriates.
  • However, Mumbai has moved down one spot within Asian cities to the 27th position compared to the previous year (2022).

Also Read

Mercer Cost of Living Survey – FAQs

When was the first Mercer Cost of Living Survey released?

The first Mercer Cost of Living Survey was released in 1994. It is an annual survey that compares the cost of living in over 400 cities around the world. The survey is used by multinational companies to help them determine how much to pay their employees who are assigned to work in different cities.

Which is the most expensive city in India?

According to Mercer’s 2023 Cost of Living Survey, Mumbai is the most expensive city in India. It is ranked 147th out of 227 cities in the world. The cost of living in Mumbai is significantly higher than the cost of living in other Indian cities. For example, the cost of housing in Mumbai is 2.5 times higher than the cost of housing in Delhi. The cost of food in Mumbai is also significantly higher than the cost of food in other Indian cities.

When was the city’s name changed from Bombay to Mumbai?

The city’s name was officially changed from Bombay to Mumbai in 1995. The name change was part of a larger movement to strengthen Marathi’s identity in the Maharashtra region. The name Mumbai is derived from the Marathi words “Mumba” and “Aai”, which mean “Mother Goddess”.


  • Shubham Mittal

    Shubham Mittal is a renowned current affairs writer and expert in government exam preparation, inspiring readers with insightful articles and guiding aspirants with his expertise.

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