25 Of The World’s Cheapest Places To Live

When the words cheap and inexpensive are thrown around, people may be a bit skeptical as to what they are applied to. You know what they say – “you get what you pay for”. While this is normally a justified position, price does not necessarily imply quality. This is especially true when it comes to choosing a place to live.  There are a great number of variables that goes into calculating the value of a place;  from a city’s policies to a city’s urban design.  These variables make delineating value from a city a little complex.  However, thanks to the Economist’s Intelligence Unit report, there is a list available ranking the top 25 of the world’s cheapest places to live.  Now the question is, would you live in any of these places?

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Kiev, Ukraine


As Eastern Europe’s crucial center for industrial, educational, scientific and cultural development; Kiev boasts of a diverse means of economic sustenance since it doesn’t depend on just one industry. Although it is a middle income city and poverty is evident in other parts of the country; Kiev virtually has nonexistent slums which is pretty good for such an inexpensive place to live.


Bogota, Colombia


Bogotá is the most populous city in Colombia with 7,363,782 inhabitants as of 2010. Because of its numerous universities and libraries, Bogota became known as “The Athens of South America”. Other than that, it is also one of Latin America’s industrial centers. Because of it’s successful fight against its crime riddled image in the 90′s, multinational companies have built their regional operations here over the years.


Santiago, Chile


Formally called Santiago de Chile, this is the industrial and financial seat of the country. It is located in the country’s central valley at an elevation of 520 m (1,706.04 ft) above mean sea level.  Founded in 1541, Santiago has been the capital city of Chile since colonial times. Moreover, because of its steady economic growth over the past few decades, Santiago has been transformed into a modern metropolis. Consequently, Santiago  is now home to theater and restaurant scenes; extensive suburban developments; shopping centers; and a rising skyline which includes the tallest building in Latin America; the Gran Torre Santiago.


Johannesburg, South Africa


One of the 50 biggest metropolitan areas in the world, Joeys as it is sometimes called is a huge source for the gold and diamond trade, and is one of the world’s leading financial centers. Strangely enough, however, the cost of living is relatively low compared to other similar cities.


Mexico City, Mexico

mexico city

Ciudad de Mexico or Mexico D.F.is a federal entity and not part of the 31 Mexican states belonging to the federation. Over time, this important financial center has evolved from a colonial territory of the Spanish empire to an independent and world class city. It still maintains it’s low cost of living, however, and if you can get past the crowds and smog you may find your wallet is a bit heavier here.


Vilnius, Lithuania


Located in the southeast of Lithuania, Vilnius is the capital city and  is one of the European capitals of culture with a population of  535,091. Vilnius is considered a Gamma global city and it’s known for its old town beautiful architecture.  Also, solar and laser technology manufacturing centers have set up shop here and in spite of its relatively low cost of living it is still an economically competitive city.


Lima, Peru


Formerly known as Ciudad de los Reyes, Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is home to one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the world, the National University of San Marcos which was founded on May 12, 1551. The city leads in the economic development of the country due to the readily available and quality workforce and cheap infrastructure.


Nairobi, Kenya


The Green City in the Sun is the capital of Kenya and has the highest population in the country at 3 million. One specific area within the city called Upper Hill has become promising because of the inexpensive costs of land and cheap maintenance which has attracted international investors and other businesses.


Cairo, Egypt


Commonly referred to as Masr by the locals, Cairo is the largest city in the Arab world and Africa. Monikered “The City of a Thousand Minarets” with the prevalence of Islamic architecture, its metropolitan area is the 16th largest in the world.


Sofia, Bulgaria


Situated at the foot of Mount Vitosha, Sofia is the economic center of Bulgaria. It was declared the capital in 1879 and is the fifth largest city in the entire European Union. This beta city experienced a decline in its apartment prices in 2009 by 26% as opposed to the 30% increase the year before.


Quito, Ecuador


Formally known as San Fransisco de Quito, it is home to a popular historic district. With a laid back pace you get a lot of bang for your buck here and Quito has become a popular retirement destination as a result.


Tunis, Tunisia


The heart of the Tunisian economy, this city is both the capital of the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. Despite attracting foreign investors, poverty and unemployment is rampant especially in the urban areas.


Manila, Philippines

manila 2

Historically known as Gintô (gold) by neighboring settlements and later on officially named the Kingdom of Maynila, it has since then become one of sixteen cities to constitute the national capital region. Tourism and business process outsourcing (BPO) are just two of the economic boosters of the city.


Muscat, Oman


A chief trading port in the east and west, the capital of Oman is home to an multi-ethnic society engaged in trading, petroleum, and porting. Over the years, Muscat has experienced promising economic growth.


Dhaka, Bangladesh


With 400,000 rickshaws being pulled around its streets everyday, this megacity is the Rickshaw Capital of the World. Not only that, it is also called the City of Mosques owing to a population that is roughly 90% Muslim.


Tehran, Iran


Originally called Ray, this city is Iran’s 32nd national capital and has been that way for 220 years. Home to the sixth tallest tower in the world, the Milad tower, it is among the largest cities in Western Asia. The average price for a 1 kilogram loaf of bread was roughly  $0.26.


Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


The gateway to two of the holiest places of Islam, Mecca and Medina, this Gamma World city is one of Saudi Arabia’s main resort cities and the second largest city next to Riyadh. Gassing up with unleaded petrol won’t hurt your pockets much, being among the 10 cheapest places to live, the average price of a liter of unleaded petrol in Jeddah is unbelievably low at $0.13.


Panama City, Panama

Panama 2

This beta world city is situated at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, and has been labeled one of the seven wonders of the modern world. From a large belt of tropical rainforests to luxurious hotels, this city is one of the top 5 retirement places in the world.


Colombo, Sri Lanka


Kolamba or harbor in early Sinhalese is the origin of this city’s name. As a harbor that was already popular to international traders since 2,000 years ago, it became the capital when Sri Lanka was turned over to the British empire in 1815 and even until it gained its independence in 1978.


Bucharest, Romania


The European Union’s 10th largest city by population has been sometimes called “Little Paris” and it became the capital of Romania in 1862. For wine lovers, the average price per bottle is $3.77.


Algiers, Algeria


Famous for its white buildings glimmering in the sun, Algers la Blanche, used to have the 50th highest cost of living in the world in 2007. Now, for a little over a quarter, you can already buy 1 liter of unleaded petrol. Ready for a roadtrip?


Kathmandu, Nepal


Situated in an ancient lake basin, Kathmandu is Nepal’s center for commerce and industry. Tourists are also enamored with the sights and sounds of this culturally and religiously rich city. An average loaf of bread costs just over a dollar.


New Delhi, India

new delhi

Even though New Delhi is considered the most expensive city in India according to Mercer, to the rest of the world, it is the second most inexpensive.


Mumbai, India


Bombay, as it was originally called, has the highest population in India and the fourth in the world. Despite it’s affluence in commerce and entertainment, it is head to head with Karachi as the cheapest city to live in. Because of differences in income households have lower spending power, keeping the prices at a minimum if following the standards of the West.


Karachi, Pakistan


The City of Lights, as Karachi is also known, is this year’s cheapest city to live in in the world. According to The Economist’s Worldwide Cost of Living Index for 2013 survey, the price of a kilogram of a loaf of bread is around 1/5 that of how much the same weight of bread is in Tokyo, the most expensive city to live in in the world.

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