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Top 10 Cheapest Cities In The World

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Have you ever wondered which are the top 10 cheapest cities in the world? Wonder no more as at Outchemy we list the cheapest major cities in the world, in which to live as of February 2009.

10) Bucharest, Romania

Top 10 Cheapest Cities In The World

The Palace of the Romanian Parliament in Bucharest

Bucharest appears joint tenth (sharing the position with Johannesburg, South Africa) on the list of least expensive cities to live in. Along with being the capital of Romania, Bucharest has the largest population of any Romanian city at 2 million, and is the political, cultural and economic heart of the country. Being the major city in Romania leads to the majority of large Romanian businesses being headquartered in the city. In addition, many international companies have their national or regional offices in Bucharest or the surrounding regions. The economy grew in the lead up to, and after accession to the European Union, but recently the entire Romanian economy has been affected by the global economy crisis leading to exchange rate changes. As a result of Romania being one of the poorest regions within the European Union, local wages are relatively low, and therefore there is also a low cost for most goods and services which leads to Bucharest having the joint tenth lowest cost of living of any major city worldwide.

9) Pretoria

Top 10 Cheapest Cities In The World

Pretoria takes the ninth position of the top 10 cheapest cities to live in the world. Pretoria is one of the three capitals of South Africa, and as such several major companies are located here although the city can sometimes be overshadowed by it’s much larger neighbour, Johannesburg. Like Johannesburg, Pretoria is located near to many gold and diamond mines, and so this brings the city a certain degree of wealth. Despite this, the wages are still low by western standards. Having that in mind, plus taking in account the good infrastructure leading to low costs and plenty of land for building leads Pretoria to be counted as one of the cheapest best cities in the world.

8) Kiev

 Top 10 Cheapest Cities In The World

The city of Kiev is the joint eighth on the list of inexpensive cities in which to live. Kiev is the capital city of the eastern European based, Ukraine. A former Soviet nation, it has attempted to switch to a market based economy over the last few years. Heavy industry and agriculture play a big part in the Ukrainian economy, and Kiev is the location of many of these industrial sites. In addition to heavy industry Kiev also has many other economic drivers. As Kiev is by far the largest city in the Ukraine, many Ukrainian and international businesses have headquarters or regional bases in the city. Kiev also has very good infrastructure and this combined with the relatively low cost of property leads to cheap goods and services. As can be seen all of these factors combine to lead to Kiev being joint 8th on a list of the least expensive most expensive cities in the world to live in.

8) Asuncion


Asuncion is the largest city in the South American country of Paraguay, and is also this county’s capital. It appears joint 8th on the list of most inexpensive cities in the world in which to live. Like many other cities in the world, Asuncion has grown in size as its metropolitan area encompasses many other towns and cities. However, it is still relatively small in population size compared to many other South American cities, with a metropolitan population of less than 2 million. As with many capital cities, Asuncion has a primarily service based economy, with over 80% of workers finding employment in fields such as teaching, banking and retail. However, considerable manufacturing does take place in Asuncion, mainly dealing with the processing of agricultural goods such as cotton, flour and cattle. There has been relatively little economic growth across Paraguay for over 20 years and this has had an effect upon the city of Asuncion, with the effect that it has depressed the cost of goods and property.

7) Manila


Manila appears seventh on the list of least expensive cities ranked in terms of the cost of living. Manila is the capital city of the Philipines, and is the centre of the country’s largest metropolitan area. However, the population of 1.4 million means that Manila is only the second largest city in the Philippines, with Quezon City being first with over 2.5 million inhabitants. Despite the fact that the area where Manila now stands having been the location for settlements for possibly thousands of years, the city really grew under the colonial rule of various countries. These foreign powers included Spain, the UK, the USA, and during World War II, also Japan.

Even after independence from the US rule in 1946, Manila was not made the capital of the Philippines until 1976. Nowadays, the greater Manila area is at the centre of the economy of the Philippines, and is very diversified. There are industrial plants which manufacture many things including, but not limited to consumer electronics, chemicals and clothing. Tourism is playing an increasing role in the economy of Manila, and each year in excess of a million visitors come. Manila is also the major port for the Philippines, and all forms of retailing from markets through to malls play a big part.

There are also all of the governmental offices, and company headquarters which add an additional strand to the city’s economy. However, the cost of living in Manila is till relatively low. Goods and services are relatively cheap due to low labour costs. These are due to the large numbers of relatively poorer people who gravitate towards Manila from the more outlying areas of the Philipines every year. Also outside of a few premium areas, the cost of property is low.

Finally the Philippines earned a lot of money from remittances sent back by people who worked abroad, but with the global downturn these are starting to fall. Finally recent exchange rate movements have led to it being cheaper when compared with the currencies used by some of the major world economies. All of these factors combine to make Manila the 7th cheapest city in the world to live in.

6. Tripoli


Tripoli appears sixth on the list of the cheapest cities in the world. Tripoli is both the largest and capital city of the north African country of Libya. The history of Tripoli stretches back thousands of years to before the Roman period. Tripoli has a population of over 1.5 million, and was an economic hub for the north African region for many years up until the mid 1980s. However, Libya was the recipient of various sanctions due to the sponsorship of terrorism which had an impact upon the capital city of Tripoli. However, more recently the country has opened up once again after the lifting of sanctions, leading to Tripoli experiencing increased economic growth. The local economy is multi-layered. Tripoli is the heart of the Libyan economy with the vast majority of major Libyan companies having their headquarters here. Tourism is also a rapidly growing part of the local economy. Tripoli has a relatively well developed infrastructure, with a major port and airport, and this leads to cheap costs associated with transporting of goods. It is this, coupled with the generous local taxation policies which leads to Triploli being the 6th least expensive place in the world in which to live.

5. Kathmandu


The Nepalese capital city of Kathmandu appears fifth on the list of the cheapest cities in the world in which to live. In addition to being the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu is also the largest and most developed city within the country. It is nestled in Kathmandu Valley within the Himalayas mountain range. Until recently, Nepal was in a state of war with armed communist insurgents operating throughout the country, which has led to economic growth being retarded. However, within the last few years the country has become much more peaceful, leading to quite rapid economic growth. The main industry in Kathmandu is tourism, attracted to the city because of it’s uniqueness, as well as the city being a useful gateway to the Himalayan mountain ranges. Within Kathmandu, there are a large number of Buddhist Temples and palaces, and these are very impressive, and unlike anything in most of the western world. Like the vast majority of cities on this list of the top 10 cheapest cities, Kathmandu had the best infrastructure in the country, and this is what partly explains the low cost of living. In addition, there is a low average wage, which leads to cheaper goods and services. These factors, along with others, lead to Kathmandu occupying 5th place in the countdown of the cheapest major cities in the world.

4. New Delhi


New Delhi appears fourth on the list of the top 10 cheapest cities in the world to live in. The Indian capital, is a relatively new city, having been constructed primarily in the last 100 years. It was originally planned by the British as the seat of governance for the colony of India, and was designed by the distinguished English architect Edwin Lutyens.

New Delhi is situated south of Delhi, and was originally separated. However, due to urbanisation, the two cities are now joined into one massive metropolis. The vast majority of statistics which are relevant for New Delhi are part of this wider region, and so this makes it hard to get solid figures for the city. However, in terms of population, New Delhi is relatively small, with a population of just over 300,000 people, although the metropolitan area has the second highest population of any metropolis in India.

Being the political heart of such a big country, means that the a large part of the economy of New Delhi is sustained by the administration of the nation. Despite being the political capital of India, the financial capital is Mumbai (that is next on this list of cheapest cities in the world). Commerce and services are playing an increasing part in the economy of New Delhi. The local wages within New Delhi are relatively high by Indian standards for many of the residents. In addition, the price of goods and services are low, partly due to low Indian labour costs and partly due to currency fluctuations.

3. Mumbai


The third most inexpensive city in the world in terms of living costs is Mumbai. Mumbai has the largest population of any city in India, and was previously known as Bombay. Mumbai is home to the main port in the country, the primary stock exchanges, and Bollywood, which is the Indian equivalent of Hollywood.

Mumbai is the location for many of the largest Indian companies, and many international companies coordinate their activities for the entire southern Asian region from here. All of these factors combine to result in Mumbai having a vibrant local economy with wages approximately three times greater than the Indian average. Goods and services in Mumbai have low costs relative to local wages due to three primary factors. Firstly, local wages are higher than other areas than India, which leads to more income available. Secondly, transportation and production of goods is cheap due to the good local infrastructure which includes a major port. Thirdly, the low wages elsewhere in India leads to low prices for goods and services from outside the Mumbai region. These low wages lead to a large number of immigrants to Mumbai, who often work in unskilled jobs, thus reducing the cost of such goods and services further. These three factors combine to make Mumbai the third cheapest major city in the world to live in.

2. Tehran


It is unusual to see the city of Tehran all covered in snow. No, it is not a trick photography with some special effects, but it’s just a photo of Tehran taken during winter time. Tehran is the capital of Iran, and is the largest city in terms of population. Tehran is a city in the shadow of the Alborz mountains, hence part of the local economy is dependent on tourism.

However, the primary parts of the economy of Tehran are linked to manufacturing, construction and services. Tehran is the main base for the administration of Iran, and so this leads to many public sector jobs. In addition, Tehran is the business heart of Iran with many Iranian businesses based in the city. Due to the isolated nature of Iran due to it’s political regime, very few major western companies do business in the country. This means that many items used in the country are manufactured in and around Tehran including textiles, consumer electronics and vehicles. Finally there are many private sector service based jobs, such as retailing, which account for a large percentage of the workforce in Tehran. This means that there is a relatively diversified economy in Tehran, with employment being across a wide range of industries.

In Tehran, the tax rate is low compared to the majority of western countries, and so this decreases the cost of living. In addition, energy costs are also very low, partly due to the large fossil fuel reserves of Iran. Tehran also has relatively high wages, particularly compared with elsewhere in Iran and surrounding countries. The low cost of purchasing goods and services, coupled with these regionally high wages, leads to Tehran being the second most inexpensive major city in the world.

1. Karachi


The least expensive city in the world in which to live is the Pakistani city of Karachi. There are several large cities within Pakistan, but Karachi is the largest with a population, which according to the United Nations, is in excess of 12 million. Whilst the political capital of Pakistan is Islamabad, Karachi is definitely the economic centre. It is home to the largest port in Pakistan situated in a sheltered natural harbour, and it is this which originally provided the conditions for the city to grow.

Whilst the port continues to play an important part in economy of Karachi, the economy has diversified. Karachi is the location for the headquarters for many of the largest Pakistani companies, as well as being the location for the Pakistani offices of many international firms. Manufacturing plays a big part in the local economy, and increasingly outsourcing of services from richer countries plays a part, particularly with call centres. All of these factors combine to result in Karachi having what has been claimed to be the highest average wage of any city in south Asia. However, despite the regionally high wages, Karachi is still located in south Asia, hence many of the prices for goods and services reflect this. In addition the excellent infrastructure links further reduce the price of imported goods. These high wages, coupled with low prices of goods and services, result in Karachi being the cheapest major city in the world in which to live.

Now, imagine taking a photography job online, and earn while photographing some of these unique and authentic inexpensive cities around the globe!

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