In Luanda, a luxury 2-bedroom apartment goes for $7,000 a month, and a sandwich goes for a whopping $20.
The U.S.'s most expensive city, New York City, doesn't even crack Mercer's top 30. The Big Apple comes in at No. 32.
The survey is created to help companies compensation ex-patriot employees, and ranks cities on the prices of more than 200 items -- including housing, transportation, food, clothing and entertainment. The survey also looks at the cost of renting a 2-bedroom apartment in U.S. dollars, rather than home purchase prices.
The biggest trend to emerge in this year's survey was that American and European cities fell in the rankings, while African and Asian cities claimed the top spots.
"Overall, the cost of living in cities across Europe has remained relatively stable," said Nathalie Constantin-Metral, a senior researcher at Mercer. "In North America, increasing petroleum prices continue to contribute to rising consumer prices, but many of its cities dropped in the rankings as price increases in other regions have been more severe."
Mercer explains that political upheavals, natural disasters and the rising cost of oil all influenced the results, but because the survey uses the cost of living in New York and the U.S. dollar as the base for comparison, exchange rates had the most significant impact on the ranking of many countries.
Top 50 cities: Cost of living ranking
Mercer international basket including rental accommodation costs
Base City: New York, US
|9||8||HONG KONG||HONG KONG|
|12||29||RIO DE JANEIRO||BRAZIL|
|32||27||NEW YORK CITY, NY||UNITED STATES|
|BANGUI||CENTRAL AFRICAN REP.|
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