This Is Officially the Most Expensive City to Live in for Expats

[Lifestyle ★★★]


(P1) Consulting firm Mercer recently released their annual cost of living survey, which also included information on the most and least expensive places for expats to live. Coming in at the most expensive city for expats was Hong Kong, where a cup of coffee will set you back almost $8. The reason? The survey cites that the dollar has remained relatively stable in the area, while other currencies have fluctuated against the dollar. Combined with the inflated cost of living, you’re going to have to shell out some dough to live among one of the greatest food scenes (and skylines) in the world.

(P2) An interesting takeaway: not one U.S. city made it onto the Top 10 list for expats. The list continues with Angola’s capital city of Luana and Zurich coming in at No. 2 and No. 3 (respectively). The survey included more than 375 countries and the ranking was determined by the cost of a “weighted basket of goods” (the price tag of eating out, personal care items, eating at home, accommodation—basically everything you would find on a monthly budget). Hong Kong also made it into the top five list of overall most expensive cities to live in around the world.

WORDS: 202


VOCABULARY: expats, relatively, fluctuated, shell out, dough, takeaway, respectively


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Would you like to live in Hong Kong? Why or why not?
  3. Would you pay almost $8 USD for a cup of coffee? Why or why not?
  4. Is the cost of living in your country low, in the middle, or high? Give some examples of some living costs like rent, electric, mobile phone plan, etc.


  1. The study only listed the most expensive cities to live in. (T or F)
  2. According to the article, the US currency is stronger. (T or F)
  3. What are 2 things that Hong Kong has that makes it a great place to live or visit?
  4. The article states the USA made the list. (T or F)
  5. The price tag for locals to live in Hong Kong is inexpensive compared to expats. (T or F)


What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Cost of living (P1)
  • Set you back (P1)
  • Food scenes (P1)
  • Weighted basket of goods (P2)

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Image source: by “unknown”

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