Karachi: One of the cheapest cities in the world?

According to a recent survey of 144 cities in the world, Karachi is one of the cheapest:

The cheapest cities in the world are Paraguay’s Asuncion, Zimbabwe’s Harare, Buenos Aires, Manila, Pakistan’s Karachi, India’s Bangalore and Uruguay’s Montevideo.

I haven’t been had the chance to visit any of these other cities, but I find it hard to hard to believe that Karachi is as cheap as the survey suggests. The devil is usually in the detail in surveys of this kind and the methodology used is often flawed; the result definitely belies my experience of Karachi. Anyone else bemused by this classification?

12 Comments so far

  1. yo yo (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 8:23 am

    Fools club…welcome one..welcome all


  2. umar (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 10:16 am

    if they calculated everything in dollars then a 200 rupees burger would cost only $3, which changes the entire picture… cuz in reality karachi is not that cheap… considering the average income and average cost of living.


  3. Mariam (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 10:18 am

    So what are they implying –> Cost of living in Karachi is much much less than the average income?

    Even if you count no water and no electricity days still I don’t think Karachi is the one of the cheapest place to live. Maybe for tourists from wealthy countries it is a shopper’s paradise but why someone wants to visit Karachi when they don’t feel safe here.


  4. Ahsan (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 10:41 am

    This wont be a comparison of ALL cities of the world, since thats not possible at all. They’d have taken in account the biggest cities (in population) in world and declared Karachi as one of the cheap cities. Otherwise the Rs. 30 chargha available in multan isnt here in karachi-:)


  5. Zain (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 10:44 am

    yeah very cheap in a different sense…


  6. Extiinct (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 10:46 am

    I have a feeling they were comparing the prices against the dollar.


  7. Inspirex (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 10:57 am

    th comparison is not for locals….
    its on international standards..hence the tools for comprison being a 2 bed apartment (you can get one from 1200 to 45000 here). An international paper could be any. A fast food meal, im suer they counted KFC or MCD.

    The comparison is based from an international perspective.


  8. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 11:26 am

    umm,all i know that i can get a can of coke in just 1 Riyal in Saudia[PKR 16].I find saudi cities cheaper than Karachi :D


  9. verysmart (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 6:18 pm

    considering the GDP PPP, Paksitan is ranked at number 26th in the world by CIA world Fact book and World Bank, which is $2400 per capita, now this is not too bad, considering the fact that out of those 26 countries, pakistan probably has the highest ratio of undocumented economy, which means that it can be higher than $2400.

    Now this is averaged on entire country, if we believe that Karachi is the Financial Capital of the country than this means that Karachi has a GDP PPP of lot more than $2400, maybe soemwhere around $7000 or mayb more.

    Now if we compare this figure to BIGMAC index (which is comparing the price of one MacDonanld’s BIGMAC deal all round the world) we will have one BigMac at $2.5, which is not too bad.

    So yes i believe Karachi can still be one of the cheapest cities of the wrodl undoubtly.


  10. Kumail (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 6:29 pm

    couple of things about the survey:
    1. the purpose: cost of living for an expatriate in anyone of these countries.
    2. currency was indexed against US Dollar
    3. Base case was New York City
    So what does this mean – they were not doing a survey about the cost of living for a Pakistani in Karachi. The survey was about expats earning is US$ all over the world. The currency for all the “cheaper” cities is significantly weak against the US$. Also with new york city as the base case, the cost of accomodation and utilities in Karachi is really low because of the currency coversion and the relative difference between the two.
    The approach is less than scientific but it tells me this, if I go to Karachi with a few 100 US$ in my pocket id be a rich man.
    A friend of mine recently returned from a prolonged trip in south america and he had the same thing to say. In fact speaking of buenos aires, he mentioned that a good steak dinner with a glass of red wine would cost around $3.50 (Canadian) roughly 200 Pak Rs.
    The key take away for Karachites is this, all the cities that are ranked lower than us are places where we can party like kings. So anyone booking a trip to south america ? :D


  11. Faraz (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 10:39 pm

    Another reason Karachi seems expensive to those living there is because the costing of living increases at a much faster pace the average income. So the same bag of rice that cost, lets say, Rs.100 in a year will cost Rs. 200.

    So it is expensive for the city’s inhabitants but as previously mentioned, those showing up with dollars or euros see it as a shopping paradise.

    The method is not flawed. You need to have a standard and it was chosen to be US$. Convince a Pakistani research firm to do it in Rupees and that would put Karachi somewhere at the top.


  12. Umer Zaman (unregistered) on June 29th, 2006 @ 1:38 pm

    ofcourse this study/research was not done for us.. =)
    btw: compare income and cost of Fuel/Gas.. i bet this aint a cheap place to live



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