Once again, Karachi has been declared one of the cheapest cities in the world.
According to the latest Worldwide Cost of Living for 2019 report published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the City of Lights ranked sixth on the list of least expensive cities in the world. Moreover, the bustling port city scored 40 on the index of 100, ranking 127 on the list of most expensive cities in the world. That also makes Karachi the cheapest city in Pakistan to live in.
The Economist Intelligence Unit is a UK-based research and analysis firm that evaluates the economic growth, inflation rate, political stability, among other factors, in countries across the globe to publish its biannual report declaring the top most expensive and cheapest cities in the world. The Worldwide Cost of Living surveys are conducted every March and September while the full reports are released in June and December, respectively.
Whether you are already living in Karachi or are planning to relocate there, this analysis on why the City of Lights was declared one of the most affordable cities in the world is a must-read for all.
History of Karachi’s Ranking on the Worldwide Cost of Living Report
Karachi, the sprawling metropolis that draws a large number of people from all parts of the country for better job and education opportunities, has been a constant fixture in the list of top 10 least expensive cities in the world as per the EIU rankings. In fact, it’s ranking on the list remain unchanged from the Worldwide Cost of Living for 2019 report released in the first half of the previous year.
Over the past decade, the most populous city of Pakistan was even ranked as the cheapest place to live in the world a few times by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
How Does the Economist Intelligence Unit Rank Cities?
So, what are the factors that led the EIU to rank Karachi among the cheapest cities in the world?
The Economist Intelligence Unit surveys 133 cities across the world to compile the 50,000 individual prices of 160 essential commodities. This data is then compared to the cost of living in New York City in the United States, which is used as the benchmark for this report with its index set at 100. The rest of the cities are then ranked from most expensive to least expensive based on what the residents are charged at supermarkets, mid-priced stores and specialized outlets.
The biannual Worldwide Cost of Living Report is based on the prices customers have to pay for food and beverages, clothing, household supplies and items of personal use. Rental prices, transportation, utility bills, school fees and recreational costs are also evaluated.
“The Worldwide Cost of Living is a biannual Economist Intelligence Unit survey that compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services. These include food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help and recreational costs,” the report stated. “The survey itself is a purpose-built internet tool designed to help human resources and finance managers calculate cost-of-living allowances and build compensation packages for expatriates and business travellers,” it continued.
It is important to mention that most of the cities deemed as inexpensive in the list are located in South Asia.
The Cost of Living in Karachi
Being the largest city in Pakistan, Karachi is home to a truly diverse population belonging to varying income classes. Therefore, the price of commodities in each part of the metropolis might vary from that in the others.
However, to give you an overview, here is a breakdown of the cost of living in Karachi as per Numbeo, a renowned database of reported consumer prices, quality of living and crime and safety rates, among other statistics.
This table includes the average prices a consumer in Karachi is charged for public transportation, grocery items, food and drinks, school fees and basic utilities.
|Water||1.5-litre bottle||PKR 50 to 70|
|A loaf of fresh white bread||500 g||PKR 45 to 100|
|White rice||1 kg||PKR 115 to 180|
|Regular eggs||A dozen||PKR 100 to 130|
|Chicken (boneless, skinless)||1 kg||PKR 300 to 600|
|Beef round (or equivalent back leg red meat)||1 kg||PKR 600 to 800|
|Meal at an inexpensive Restaurant||1 person||PKR 200 to 500|
|Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant||2 people||PKR 1,200 to 4,000|
|One-way Ticket (Local Transport)||1 person||PKR 20 to 30|
|Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)||–||PKR 80 to 150|
|Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)||–||PKR 20 to 50|
|Basic Utilities (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage)||For an 85 square meter apartment||PKR 6,000 to 15,550|
|Cinema||1 seat||PKR 550 to 1,000|
|Private Preschool or Kindergarten||1 child per month||PKR 3,000 to 15,000|
|Private Primary School||1 child per year||PKR 84,000 to 360,000|
|Jeans||1 pair||PKR 1,000 to 5,000|
|Summer Dress in a Chain Store||1||PKR 2,000 to 6,000|
Buying property in Karachi
Karachi is considered the economic hub of Pakistan. That, paired with affordable housing options, attracts job seekers and students from all across the country to relocate here to look for better employment and education options.
To put it simply, the city offers a range of accommodation options to its residents. From upscale gated communities to affordable housing societies, you can find a home in Karachi for almost every budget.
If you’re interested in buying a property in Karachi, you can head over to Zameen.com – the leading property portal in Pakistan – to browse through the listings. On the other hand, you can also take a look at our analysis of the best areas to buy 110 to 150 sq yd houses in Karachi under PKR 1.2 crore. If you’re looking for a bigger place, here is a list of top areas in Karachi with 215 to 265 sq yd houses for sale under PKR 4 crore. Meanwhile, you can also buy a 215 to 265 sq yd plot in Karachi under PKR 60 lakh.
For more information, make sure to check out our comprehensive analysis on how the Karachi real estate market fared during 2019 and take a look at the top areas to buy plots, houses and flats in the City of Lights.
However, before we wrap up, let’s take a look at the overall rankings published by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Most Affordable Cities in the World
These are the top 10 cheapest cities in the world, as per the latest Worldwide Cost of Living for 2019.
- Buenos Aires
- New Delhi
Most Expensive Cities in the World
According to the Worldwide Cost of Living for 2019, these are the top 10 expensive cities in the world.
- Hong Kong
- New York
- Tel Aviv
In case you’re planning to travel to Karachi even briefly, here’s our pick of the things you can do in the City of Lights in 24 hours to make the most of your time here.
Meanwhile, if you’re interested in buying property in other major cities and can’t decide where to start your search, head over to Zameen Blog – the best real estate blog in Pakistan – for in-depth analysis and guides. You can also post your questions about real estate in Karachi, one of the cheapest cities in the world to live in, on Zameen Forum or share them with us on email@example.com.
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