Top 10 Cheapest Cities In The World

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In today’s world, finding an affordable city to settle down in feels like searching for a needle in a haystack. However, amidst the seemingly universal trend of rising costs, cheaper cities do exist. The Economist Intelligence Unit has compiled a list of the world’s least expensive cities, revealing that affordability doesn’t always equate to the best quality of life or safety. While it’s tempting to chase after affordability, the reality is much more complex.

This list will prompt us to reconsider the meaning of high prices – while they can indeed be frustrating, they often signify livability and security. Let’s take a closer look at the top 10 least expensive cities worldwide.

10. Buenos Aires

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Buenos Aires is Argentina’s largest city and offers a surprisingly affordable lifestyle for what you get. Families and individuals who call this city home get to enjoy its vibrant culture, welcoming community, diverse population, passionate tango dancing, and more.

Buenos Aires was also the first Latin American city to protect LGBT rights, passing legislation for civil unions in 2002 and legalizing same-sex marriage in 2010, far ahead of other countries and metropolitan cities. Economically, the city’s real estate sector and finance-related industries account for approximately 30 percent of its annual production.

9. Chennai

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Chennai is not only one of the most affordable major cities to live in India, but has also been recognized as the safest city in the country, particularly for women.

The city is known for its food scene, beaches (including Marina, the world’s second-longest urban beach), and thriving automobile industry and film production. Additionally, Chennai’s public rail transportation system is one of the best in India and can easily get you anywhere in the city.

8. Lagos

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Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city, is experiencing rapid development, offering abundant opportunities in various industries like construction and business, alongside the growing affordability in the cost of living. It’s also named the fifth most desirable African city to live, work, and invest in.

Lagos is known for their art scene, nightlife, and musical heritage, as well as their busy seaport which serves as a gateway to international trade. This successful port not only shapes African fashion and tourism, but also plays a role in driving the nation’s economy, contributing about 10 percent of its GDP.

7. Ahmedabad

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Ahmedabad is the fifth most populous city in India and comparatively lower than other major cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore. The city remains the most affordable housing market in the country, with utilities, childcare, education, and household expenses being inexpensive and manageable.

Ahmedabad has even been named multiple times as the best city in India to live as it offers great infrastructure, excellent education, and many job opportunities. Ahmedabad plays a pivotal role in the country’s economy, due to its status of being the second-largest producer of cotton in India. The city is also known for its high-quality denim production, which is exported worldwide.

6. Lusaka

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Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, ranks as the sixth cheapest city to live in the world with an average cost of living around $659. It’s also one of the fastest emerging cities in Southern Africa, evident from the numerous large-scale construction projects. These projects signal a promising economy for Lusaka as well as hope for prospective homeowners and residents.

Economically, the city’s commercial market contributes significantly to Zambia’s annual production, making up approximately 27 percent of the total.

5. Tashkent

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Tashkent is Asia’s most populous city with a population of 3 million and has gone through many transformations since the devastating 1966 earthquake. Since then, it has reshaped its commercial market into a fully-fledged economic hub. This economic growth has attracted people from all walks of life, giving the city more diversity and culture.

All in all, Tashkent is an extremely safe city with impressively low crime rates that offer residents and expats a sense of peace and security.

4. Karachi

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Karachi is ranked as the fourth cheapest city in the world to live in and serves as a major industrial and financial center in Pakistan. The city’s rapid industrialization has attracted a diverse influx of immigrants, creating more diversity within Karachi.

However, Karachi faces serious quality-of-life challenges. Unfortunately, reports and surveys consistently name it as an unlivable city due to issues including air pollution, extreme heat that rises every passing year, high poverty rates, and inadequate healthcare.

3. Tripoli

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Tripoli, the capital of Libya, may rank as the third cheapest city to live in, but beneath its affordability lies a city buried in turmoil. Similar to Karachi, it’s not a suitable place to call home.

In recent years, there has been an uptick in violence and fighting can break out anywhere without warning. The city, and the country overall, is considered so dangerous that the US Department of State has issued explicit cautions against travel to Libya due to crime, terrorism, random kidnapping, civil unrest, and armed conflict.

2. Tehran

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Tehran, the capital of Iran, stands as the second cheapest city to live in. Its population experienced a significant surge during the 20th century, driven by extensive industrialization, drawing migrants from all corners of Iran. Today, Tehran accommodates about 45 percent of the country’s industries and is Iran’s most visited city.

However, as the cities on this list become more affordable, the quality of life tends to decline and Tehran is no exception. Tehran suffers from poor air quality, ranking as the world’s 21st most polluted country. Additionally, there is a current travel advisory for Iran, warning U.S. citizens of serious dangers including kidnapping or arbitrary arrest and detention.

1. Damascus

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Damascus, the capital of Syria, holds a lot of history as one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. Despite its rich beginnings, it’s officially the world’s cheapest city to live in and it’s undoubtedly one of the worst places to live as well.

The living conditions in Damascus are dire, with fuel and electricity shortages, a lack of basic food and necessities, and residents unable to meet their fundamental needs. All travel to Syria is discouraged due to the ongoing civil war, terrorism, torture, kidnapping, and overall life-threatening violence.

Source: EIU

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