cost of living in Toronto

Toronto ranked 2nd most expensive city in Canada but not high on world list

While the cost of living has gone up this year, Toronto is still ranked rather low on the list of the 209 most expensive cities in the world. 

The results of Mercer's 2021 Cost of Living Survey are in and Toronto has jumped from 115th last year to 98th this year.  

"Globally, Canada remains a relatively affordable place to live and an attractive destination for remote workers," said Gordon Frost, Partner at Mercer Canada. 

"The Canadian dollar has appreciated in value in relation to the USD, triggering jumps in this year's ranking," according to the report. 

Vancouver moved up one place to 93 and is still ranked Canada's most expensive city while Toronto is ranked the second-highest. 

Montreal has also jumped up eight spots and now sits at 129. 

On the other hand, Ottawa has dropped five places from 161 to now 156 and remains Canada's most affordable major city.

The pandemic has definitely impacted the cities ranking as "countries continue to struggle with economic, political and health fall out from COVID-19," according to the Mercer report. 

"As companies consider how they will manage an increasingly flexible workforce after the pandemic, cost of living is becoming an even more compelling employee value proposition - which is essential for retaining their current workforce and attracting new talent," explains Frost as he refers to Canada.  

In a press release, Ilya Bonic, Career President and Head of Mercer Strategy said, "Cost of living has always been a factor for international mobility planning, but the pandemic has added a whole new layer of complexity, as well as long-term implications related to health and safety of employees, remote working and flexibility policies, among other considerations." 

Overall, U.S. cities have dropped this year mostly due to currency fluctuations between  March 2020 and March 2021. New York is still ranked the most expensive city in the U.S. at 14, though it dropped eight spots since last year. 

More than half of the top 10 most expensive cities are located in Asia. Ashgabat climbed to the top of the list making it the most expensive city for international employees, both in Asia and globally. 

It is fair to say that the pandemic has certainly shaken things up, we're just glad we are nearing the end and hoping we never see the top of the list. 

Out of the 205 spots, the 20 most expensive cities in the world are: 

  1. Ashgabat
  2. Hong Kong
  3. Beirut
  4. Tokyo
  5. Zurich
  6. Shanghai
  7. Singapore
  8. Geneva
  9. Beijing
  10. Bern
  11. Seoul
  12. Shenzhen
  13. N'Djamena
  14. New York City
  15. Tel Aviv
  16. Copenhagen
  17. Guangzhou
  18. London
  19. Lagos
  20. Libreville
Lead photo by

Clement Lo


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