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10 Cheapest Cities in the World in 2019

In some countries around the world, the cost of living is very high, especially in areas that are around large cities. For example, US cities such as New York and San Francisco have a very high cost of living.

Occupying the other end of this spectrum are nations with a very low cost of living. This is one of the reasons several persons are seeking to relocate to the countries.

Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris, and 7 others — according to the 2019 annual cost of living survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) — have been rated the 10 most expensive cities in the world to visit and live in.

Cheapest Cities in the World

The survey, which is entitledWorldwide Cost of Living,” ranked 133 countries on the basis of the costs of more than 150 items consumer items, including food, drink, transport, utility, bills, and others.

Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, claims the title of the world’s least expensive city, replacing Damascus in Syria. Here are the 10 cheapest cities globally:

cheapest cities in the world
Caracas, Venezuela

CARACAS (Venezuela)

Rank: 133

Rank movement: -1

DAMASCUS (Syria)

Rank: 132

Rank movement: 1

TASHKENT (Uzbekistan)

Rank: 131

Rank movement: -19

ALMATY (Kazakhstan)

Rank: 130

Rank movement: 1

BANGALORE (India)

Rank: 129

Rank movement: 0

KARACHI (Pakistan)

Rank: 127

Rank movement: 0

LAGOS (Nigeria)

Rank: 127

Rank movement: 3

BUENOS AIRES (Argentina)

Rank: 125

Rank movement: -48

CHENNAI (India)

Rank: 125

Rank movement: 1

NEW DELHI (India)

Rank: 123

Rank movement: 1

“Following inflation nearing 1,000,000 per cent last year and the Venezuelan government launching a new currency, the situation continues to change almost daily. The new currency value has varied so much since its creation and the economy was demonetised compelling people to use commodities and exchange services and personal items like clothing, auto parts and jewellery to purchase basic goods such as groceries,” the EIU report explained.

In addition to Damascus and Caracas, in the 2018 survey, the Economist Intelligence Unit also rated Almaty, Lagos, Bangalore, Karachi, Chennai among the top 10 cheapest cities in the world.

In the 2017 report, among the top 10 most affordable cities globally listed, four came from India: Kolkata (3rd), Chennai (6th), Mumbai (7th) as well as New Delhi (9th).

Coming down to Africa, Lagos — Nigeria’s commercial city — is ranked 7th among the world’s 10 cheapest cities in 2019. Last year, Lagos also made the top 10, joining fellow African city Algiers (Algeria).

Lagos sits at the 127th spot in the current survey. However, in 2017, it was rated by estate agent Savills as the most expensive city in Africa to live and work in.

The EIU survey is carried out to help companies determine compensation packages & allowances for expat employees as well as business travellers.

It equally tracks rise or fall in prices, taking the cost of living in New York as a benchmark.

Tracking Changes in the 2019 Ranking

While Asia has some of the most expensive cities in the world, it is equally home to many of the world’s cheapest cities. In this region, South Asian locations have traditionally provided the best value for money, especially those in India and neighbouring Pakistan.

This notion is veracious to some extent, and among the 10 cheapest locations surveyed are Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, and Karachi.

Though India is regarded as primed for rapid economic expansion on the basis of per head, wage, and spending growth will stay low. With income inequality, low wages have become prevalent, which limit household spending and bring about several tiers of pricing, in addition to stiff competition from a variety of retail sources.

This issue, along with a cheap and copious supply of goods into cities from producers in rural areas with short supply chains & government subsidies on certain products, has made prices stay down, particularly when looked at using Western standards.

Nevertheless, while cities in South Asia are traditionally ranked among the 10 cheapest, these locations are not the cheapest in the world any longer.

In 2018, Syria’s capital, Damascus, claimed that title and is second-cheapest in this year’s survey. However, Damascus citizens might not agree the city was becoming cheaper, with inflation hitting an average of an estimated 28 per cent in this country around two years ago.

Even so, since the onset of war in 2011, local price rises have not totally offset a near-consistent decline in the Syrian pound value.

In 2019, Damascus was replaced as the world’s least expensive city by Caracas, the Venezuelan capital.

Caracas witnessed much worsened economic conditions last year, as hyperinflation & a breakdown in public services spurred growing social instability.

In a bid to reduce currency pressure, the government of Venezuela in early 2018 unified and devalued the official exchange rates. However, with the prevailing problem of hyperinflation, the currency remains largely over-valued, and this led to a huge black market premium.

Wrapping Up

A growing number of locations, as shown in the cases of Damascus and Caracas, are getting cheaper as a result of the influence of economic or political disruption.

While cities in the South Asian region stays structurally cheap, political unrest is becoming increasingly rife and reduces the relative cost of living, implying an element of risk can considerably be seen in some of the cheapest cities in the world.

Locations like Karachi (Pakistan), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Tashkent (Uzbekistan), and Lagos (Nigeria) have experienced economic, political, security and infrastructural problems, which are well documented.  

Besides, there is some correlation between the EIU’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey as well as the Global Liveability survey, its sister’s ranking. Therefore, cheaper cities equally tend to be less attractive to foreigners to live and work in.

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