Karachi among cheapest cities in the world: Survey

Published: July 7, 2011
Karachi has been ranked the cheapest city in the world, landing up at the bottom of the index for the Economist Intelligence Unit's biennial cost of living survey. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD NOMAN

Karachi has been ranked the cheapest city in the world, landing up at the bottom of the index for the Economist Intelligence Unit's biennial cost of living survey. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD NOMAN

SYDNEY: Karachi has been ranked among the cheapest city in the world, landing up at the bottom of the index for the Economist Intelligence Unit’s biennial cost of living survey.

Most of 10 cheapest cities were in South Asia with Mumbai and New Delhi also in the bottom 10, while the Sri Lankan capital Colombo came in 114th, in the bottom 20, revealed the new global survey published on Thursday.

“Despite the rise of India as a growing emerging-market economy, the low cost of living in cities continues to reflect the fact that the subcontinent remains a comparatively cheap place to live and work,” the survey said.

Tokyo took the “dubious” honour of the world’s most expensive city, a title it has held for much of the past two decades, with Osaka ranking third.

“Low inflation and poor consumer confidence have persisted in Japan, but the yen has strengthened significantly over the last two years, pushing Tokyo back to the top of the ranking last year,” the survey said.

“This year the cost of living has increased further in Tokyo, despite the human and economic cost of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Tokyo in March and the subsequent nuclear reactor scare in Fukushima.”

Despite ongoing debt fears and weakness in the Eurozone, the survey said the top 10 most expensive has “a familiar European flavour” and includes Oslo, Paris, Geneva, Zurich and Frankfurt.

The soaring Australian dollar has turned the country’s four biggest cities into some of the most expensive locations in the world. Sydney and Melbourne are now the sixth and seventh most expensive cities on the planet.

More significantly Perth and Brisbane, major regional centres closest to the country’s booming coal and iron ore mines, rose to 13 and 14 respectively.

“Ten years ago Sydney was ranked 71st and Melbourne 80th, while Perth was ranked 91st and Brisbane was 93rd,” the survey said.

“This is the culmination of a remarkable rise in the cost of living in Australian cities over the last decade, a period in which the value of the Australian dollar has moved from around 50 US cents to passing parity with the US dollar earlier this year.”

Insatiable demand in Asia for raw materials to make steel has seen commodity prices return to highs from before the 2008 global financial crisis.

It is now cheaper to live in London, Vienna, Rome, Berlin, Hong Kong and Beijing than most Australian cities.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Maher
    Jul 7, 2011 - 4:53PM

    Khi a cheap city, ask them who earn 6-7k/ month & fighting for their survival..Recommend

  • indian guy
    Jul 7, 2011 - 5:09PM

    Cheapest human life too?Recommend

  • Rock
    Jul 7, 2011 - 5:43PM

    what is khi stand for? we know karachi but what is khi?Recommend

  • Ihk
    Jul 7, 2011 - 5:50PM

    what a load of hogwash! Just go and check my maid’s 2 room house where her family of 10 lives.Recommend

  • ba ha
    Jul 7, 2011 - 5:53PM

    Great Housing in KarachiRecommend

  • khilover
    Jul 7, 2011 - 6:34PM

    Look the article states that Karachi is among the cheapest cities in the world. It does not aim to discuss the quality of life in Karachi. It is true, and everyone should agree on that, Karachi is CHEAP when you compare it with most of the other “metropolitan” cities. People cry in Pakistan for every reason. Petrol is expensive in Pakistan, or is it?

    1 ltr of Petrol in Karachi is around Rs: 85
    1 ltr of Petrol in Toronto is around Rs: 113

    I don’t see people crying in Toronto for petrol, because most of the people who have cars, can afford it. But in Karachi these kinds of luxuries are taken for granted because that is how our lifestyle is becoming and partially because nowadays it so easy to get a vehicle.

    So I don’t think that anyone should have any problems in saying that KHI is indeed one of the cheapest cities in the World. Recommend

  • Ravindra
    Jul 7, 2011 - 8:00PM

    Cheapest for living is good but cheapest for death not.Recommend

  • Khan
    Jul 7, 2011 - 8:39PM

    your comparison has no legs …
    In London, the cost of petrol is around £1.40/ltr (roughly Rs 185) but a graduate’s starting salary is around Rs. 2 lac per month(£1400 after tax). So does a graduate or a clerk, a journalist, a school teacher earn 2 lac per month in Pakistan?Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Jul 7, 2011 - 11:07PM

    @khilover: In U.S, minimum salary is 1.5 lac, and if someone is getting less than that he can go in court and claim. How about here?Recommend

  • shmail
    Jul 8, 2011 - 12:04AM

    Your comparison has no legs, because petrol isn’t everything

    The rent for a very small apartment in london is around 2 lac only……..I have lived in london, dubai and in hong kong….these are really really expensive places, 70% of your salary goes into rent. The person doing the same job in london/karachi will live in a much bigger and better place in karachi then a person living in london…..somebody earning 2 lac in london would probably be earning 50,000 in karachi but he would be able to afford more things in karachi……since the article only talks about being cheap so let’s leave the political problems aside.Recommend

  • Hogwash
    Jul 8, 2011 - 12:09AM

    Where there is violence, lack of basic neccesities and unemployment – there is no such thing as Cheap. It is cheap only for the hand ful rich and politicians who travel to London and Dubai.Recommend

  • Jamshed
    Jul 8, 2011 - 3:49AM

    The picture above tells the story why it is cheapest :)Recommend

  • Mujtaba
    Jul 8, 2011 - 5:00AM

    ya its cheap but what about those who are not earning any thing ?
    if someone doesnt have a job he doesnt really care if the petrol prices go down to 50?
    @khilover: Recommend

  • SJ
    Jul 8, 2011 - 5:46AM


    From that 1400 half of it goes to rent, unlike in Karachi most of the fresh graduates have moved out of their parents place. It’ll cost them at least 15 pounds to have three meals a day with a combination of eating out and at home.
    So when livability is compared, there are a lot of factors looked into, in terms of living styles and affordability of a whole range of things. By the way it include house mortgage as well.Recommend

  • SJ
    Jul 8, 2011 - 6:56AM

    Just read in one of the Melbourne’s newspaper (The Age)

    “In Melbourne, accommodation, meals, taxis, drinks and a newspaper now cost the average business traveller $US760 ($A712.75) a day, with Sydney close behind at $US627 ($A588).”

    Just to let everyone know that what kind of factors are taken into consideration when calculating the affordability. So there is no point arguing about petrol prices alone.Recommend

  • Salman
    Jul 8, 2011 - 8:58AM

    @ Indian Guy: try to read couple of news items about Mexico or Columbia to find out what “cheap human life” really means. And if you look at the Indian Army’s record of inhumae treatment of Kashmiris and your own treatment of the 328 million Dalits in India you will then know what “cheap human life” really means. You people never spare the opportunity to spew your hate even when the subject matter is cost of living and nothing else.

    @ Rock: KHI is abbreviations for Karachi and also IATA’s code for the city, as it is IATA’s code for Delhi as DEL and code for Mumbai as BOM.Recommend

  • indian guy
    Jul 8, 2011 - 1:48PM

    @ Salmanbhai,

    i am unable to find any news reports today about Mexico or Guatemala. Karachi? Yes. Please switch on your TV set and gain some knowledge (not the saas bahu variety garbage form india- news please).

    Dont be scared- my advice dont leave your home if you are in Karachi…

    I just made a caustic comment on the situation in Karachi.

    By the way, dont get fooled by poverity in India. Right now there is a serious shortages of working hands. You just cannot get any people to work in factories and construction. Not even for Rs.7000 per month. I am facing this problem in our factory. So $ 5 per day is not enough now for untrained manpower.

    About dalits, dont be fooled again. Nobody in India cares what I am. Nobody asked me my caste or religion for the last 30 years. Injustice here is just propaganda to hold their reservations in school and jobs- which was supposed to have stopped in 1957 as per rule. Corruption- yesss. We are the most corrupt in the world. Pakistan can learn some lessons here from us.Recommend

  • harry stone
    Jul 8, 2011 - 3:52PM

    Costs are not everything. There is the issue of quality of life. At the top of that list is personal safety. Recommend

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