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Excerpted from the Singapore Career Guide

Cost of Living

Singapore is one of the world’s most expensive cities for expatriates. It ranks as the second-costliest city in Asia and the fourth most expensive in the world, according to Mercer. Only Luanda, Angola, N'Djamena, Chad, and Hong Kong are more expensive. Singapore’s limited available space drives up the cost of housing, which is one of the primary reasons for its overall high cost of living (See the Housing section for details). Not only do many expatriates in Singapore spend more on their accommodations than expats in other countries, they also find the cost of groceries, utilities, health care, alcoholic beverages and going out expensive. Public transportation is relatively costly in Singapore, as is the cost of education.


The price of housing in Singapore is very expensive, in spite of the fact that rents have dropped in the past year. Moreover, the increases in available housing due to new construction projects mean that there may be some room for negotiating your rent.

Keep in mind that rents will always be lower in the suburbs and higher in the center of the city. And high rents in the city’s center are driving many expats to Singapore’s suburbs.


Transportation around the city-state is efficient, reliable and relatively inexpensive. You don’t need a car there. In fact, more than half the country’s residents use Singapore’s public transport system, which consists of trains (MRT), light rail (LRT) feeding into the MRT, buses and taxis. Taxis are plentiful, affordable and safe, and taxi drivers are competent and knowledgeable.

Medical Care and Health Insurance

Singapore boasts a world-class health care system, which is managed by the Ministry of Health and designed to ensure access to different levels of health care in a timely, cost-effective and seamless fashion to everyone.

Both public and private facilities are available. Private and public hospitals are equipped with up-to-date diagnostic equipment, though public hospitals provide the majority of the care to locals and eligible permanent residents. Typically, however, expats opt for private health care, which is only slightly more expensive than public health care.

This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete Singapore Guide.

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