AIRINC Global 150 Cities Index Ranking Methodology

AIRINC’s Global 150 Cities Index is a ranking of 150 of the top global locations according to the financial and lifestyle benefits they offer. It combines local salary levels, tax rates, living costs, and living conditions to assess how appealing each location is to live in. The data is collected by AIRINC’s own in-house survey team, who continuously research the costs and living conditions of many cities around the world to evaluate international mobility.

Financial Metrics

Salary Levels: We have developed and maintain our own international salary data base that captures location-specific salary levels for professional talent.


Costs (Housing + Cost-of-Living): We price a basket of more than 350 goods and services to accurately represent the cost of living in each location. Prices collected include those for Housing, Utilities, Transportation, Food, Drink, Recreation, Clothing, Domestic Help, Household Supplies, Communications, Home Furnishings, Personal Care, and Medical.


Taxes: Our internal tax team researches the applicable national and local taxes, social security payments, and family allowances to develop representative tax models.

Lifestyle Metrics

Hardship / Quality of Living: We research and evaluate each location for over 60 hardship components, classified into 11 categories that represent Physical Threat and Safety (e.g., violence, crime, medical), Discomfort (e.g., climate, pollution, isolation), Inconvenience (e.g., availability of housing, recreation, goods and services, education facilities).


Social Benefits: We adjust for the different levels of social and lifestyle benefits inherent in each country.

The Ranking

The Financial components are aggregated to calculate the net purchasing power of a typical salary in each city, and then converted to a common currency to allow comparison between locations. The Lifestyle metrics are weighted and grouped by category to result in a score out of 100 that allows objective assessment of the living conditions between cities. Both metrics are combined to reflect the importance of each, resulting in an overall score that allows easy city-to-city comparisons and rankings.