Mumbai remains costliest Indian city for expats, New Delhi is second

Mumbai remains India’s costliest city for expats with New Delhi at second spot. Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad respectively complete the top five, says Mercer’s 2024 Cost of Living Survey

Data Intelligence Team
New Update
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Mumbai, India's top-ranked expensive city, is at number 136 globally according to the report by the American consulting firm Mercer

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Mumbai retains position as India’s costliest city for expatriates with New Delhi at the second spot, while Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad respectively complete the top five, according to Mercer’s 2024 Cost of Living Survey released on Monday.


Globally, Hong Kong continues to lead the global list with Singapore at second and Zurich in Switzerland at third, said the report which judged 226 cities on over 200 parameters including food, clothing, transportation and entertainment.


No Indian city features in the top 100 positions of the list this year. Mumbai, the top-ranked expensive city, is at number 136 according to the report by the American consulting firm Mercer, having moved up 11 positions from 2023. New Delhi ranks at 164 globally having risen four spots since last year while Chennai, at 189 in 2024, has dropped five spots but continues to rank as the third most expensive Indian city for expats. Bengaluru, at number 195, dropped six spots while Hyderabad retains its 2023 position of number 202.

Pune jumped eight places to reach position 205 this year while Kolkata is up by four positions as far as cost of living goes, and stands at number 207.

Among Asian cities, Mumbai rose by six spots and New Delhi by two spots among most expensive cities in Asia for expatriates. Among Asian cities, Mumbai ranks at position 21 while Delhi is at number 30.


Although many Indian cities on the list have risen in terms of cost of living compared to last year, their overall affordability continues to be a significant plus point for Indian as well as multinational companies to set up base and draw talent from all over the country and the world.

The report notes that Indian economy has experienced a considerable amount of growth driven by domestic demand and a booming services sector. The rise in cost of living has been an outcome of overall economic growth and a burgeoning middle class. With the Indian rupee retaining stability against the dollar, Indian cities managed to avoid any drastic drop, the report observed.


Delhi witnessed steepest rise of around 12 to 15 percent in housing rentals for expats among Indian cities compared to last year, while the rise in Mumbai was around 6 to 8 per cent.

Housing rentals increased in the range of three to 6 per cent in Bengaluru for expats and at 2 to 4 per cent in Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune.

Expat housing rental expenses in Kolkata witnessed the lowest growth over the past year among the top cities, at a rate of below 2 per cent.


Cost of transportation is the highest in Mumbai and Bangalore is at second, while Mumbai is also the most expensive city for expats in terms of energy and utility expensive followed by Pune.

Fruits, vegetables, milk, dairy products, bread, oils and beverages are cheapest in Kolkata followed by Pune.

Personal care items such as cosmetics, beauty products and toiletries are costliest in Mumbai, while Chennai comes second. These items are cheapest in Kolkata.

Alcohol and tobacco products cost least in Delhi while expenses of these items have gone up by 20 per cent over the past year in Chennai.

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