Mercer's 2023 Cost of Living Survey is out: See the list of the most expensive cities in India

Most expensive cities in India
Most expensive cities in India

Most expensive cities in India: In the latest Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2023, Mumbai has taken the lead as the most expensive city in India for expatriates. The survey, which covered over 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment, was conducted across 227 cities spanning five continents. Following Mumbai on the list are New Delhi and Bengaluru, which occupy the second and third positions, respectively, as the most expensive cities for expats in India. This ranking sheds light on the financial challenges faced by international employees living in these urban centers.

The rankings for Indian cities in the global index are as follows: Mumbai at 147, New Delhi at 169, Chennai at 184, Bengaluru at 189, Hyderabad at 202, Kolkata at 211, and Pune at 213. The results reflect the relative cost of living and expatriate accommodation expenses in each location.

The Mercer Cost of Living Survey serves as an invaluable resource for employers when designing fair and efficient compensation packages for international assignees. With data encompassing multiple essential cost factors, employers can make informed decisions about compensation and allowances for employees working across the globe.

Overall, Mumbai's ascent as India's most expensive city for expats underscores the growing financial challenges faced by international employees, while also highlighting the dynamic nature of the global cost of living landscape. As economic conditions continue to fluctuate, staying abreast of these rankings is crucial for both businesses and individuals planning international assignments or relocations.


Mumbai, India's prominent financial hub, is a bustling metropolis renowned for its dynamic energy and diverse culture. Situated on the western coast, the city boasts iconic landmarks like the Gateway of India and Marine Drive. As the costliest city for expatriates in India, Mumbai offers a captivating blend of traditional charm and modern opportunities. Its globally recognized film industry, Bollywood, adds allure to its cosmopolitan atmosphere. Nonetheless, the city grapples with challenges arising from rapid urbanization, such as traffic congestion and housing shortages. Nevertheless, Mumbai continues to be a city of dreams, attracting people from all walks of life in pursuit of success and prosperity.


Located in Gujarat, Ahmedabad is the largest city, steeped in historical heritage and celebrated for its remarkable architectural marvels, notably the Sabarmati Ashram, an iconic site associated with India's freedom struggle. The city has undergone a transformation into a thriving economic and industrial hub, with a prominent textile and pharmaceutical industry. Ahmedabad's inviting ambiance and delectable cuisine make it a delight for residents and visitors alike. The Sabarmati Riverfront, a recent urban development project, has become a popular leisure destination. Ahmedabad's distinct identity emerges from its harmonious blend of tradition and progress.


With immense historical and political significance, Delhi serves as India's capital city. A vibrant fusion of ancient monuments, such as the Red Fort and Qutub Minar, and modern infrastructure characterizes the city. While Old Delhi charms with bustling markets and age-old traditions, New Delhi showcases grand government buildings and wide roads in its planned layout. The diverse population contributes to Delhi's rich cultural tapestry and culinary delights. Despite challenges related to pollution and traffic congestion, Delhi remains a pivotal center of power, culture, and commerce in the country.


Nestled amidst picturesque hills in Maharashtra, Pune is renowned for its educational institutions, pleasant climate, and burgeoning IT sector, earning it the moniker "Oxford of the East." The city's historical connections, exemplified by landmarks like the Aga Khan Palace, lend it a unique character. Pune's proximity to Mumbai further boosts its economic growth, attracting professionals seeking opportunities and a balanced lifestyle. The city's vibrant nightlife and cultural events contribute to its appeal as a well-rounded urban destination.


Frequently dubbed the "Silicon Valley of India," Bengaluru is a leading IT and technology hub attracting a diverse workforce from across the nation and beyond. Known for its agreeable climate, Bengaluru boasts numerous parks and gardens, earning the title "Garden City." The Cubbon Park and Lalbagh Botanical Garden are popular recreational spots. Despite challenges arising from rapid urbanization, Bengaluru exudes a youthful and dynamic ambiance, thanks to its thriving startup culture and lively nightlife.


As the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur immerses visitors in royal history and architectural splendor. The city, often referred to as the "Pink City" due to its distinctive pink-hued buildings, boasts majestic forts like the Amer Fort and Nahargarh Fort, symbols of its regal past. Bustling bazaars offer a treasure trove of handicrafts and traditional Rajasthani attire. Jaipur's vibrant cultural heritage, colorful festivals, and warm hospitality make it a captivating destination and a vibrant place to reside.


Situated on the southeastern coast, Chennai is renowned for its deep-rooted traditions, classical music, and thriving film industry, popularly known as Kollywood. The Marina Beach, stretching along the city, provides a serene retreat for locals and tourists alike. Chennai's culinary offerings, especially the aromatic filter coffee and mouth-watering dosas, are celebrated highlights. Despite occasional water scarcity and urban sprawl, Chennai's rich cultural heritage and strong sense of community create a distinct charm that beckons people from all corners of India.


A bustling city in Gujarat, Surat has emerged as one of India's fastest-growing urban centers. With a historical association with textiles, Surat has evolved into a major commercial and economic hub, with a focus on diamond cutting and polishing. Prosperity has driven significant infrastructural development, including modern shopping complexes and towering buildings. The vibrant street food culture and traditional festivals contribute to Surat's lively and festive atmosphere.


Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana, is a city of contrasts, where rich history harmoniously coexists with modern developments. The iconic Charminar and Golconda Fort stand as symbols of its glorious past as a former princely state. Today, Hyderabad's distinction as "Cyberabad" is justified by its status as a major IT and biotechnology hub, attracting a tech-savvy workforce. The city's delectable biryani and haleem are cherished delights among food enthusiasts. Hyderabad's unique blend of tradition, technology, and mouth-watering cuisine renders it an alluring destination.


Kolkata, celebrated as India's cultural capital, cherishes its colonial heritage and artistic legacy. The Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge, and North Kolkata's heritage buildings contribute to the city's identity. Kolkata's intellectual lineage, boasting Nobel laureates and renowned literary figures, forms an integral part of its social fabric. Literature, music, and football are passions that bind its people together. While Kolkata faces challenges arising from urbanization and poverty, its warmth, vibrant cultural events, and grand celebration of Durga Puja continue to attract art, culture, and history enthusiasts.

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