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New Delhi: The Second Cheapest City in the World


By Subroto Mukherjee


The World Cost of Living Survey  shows some unexpected positions where cities in the developed world are often cheaper than cities in the developing world to live in.  


It might not always feel like that in Delhi, but New Delhi has found in a survey to be the second cheapest city in the world to live in.

Only Teheran is cheaper than Delhi in 134 cities surveyed around the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The unit is an offshoot of The Economist magazine.

At the top end, Tokyo and Osaka are tied for the dubious distinction of the most expensive cities in the world. A taxi ride from the airport to the city centre Tokyo can cost $229 (almost Rs10,000) – a useful figure to keep in mind before the next argument with a taxi driver in Delhi.

HongKong is the third most expensive in the world, which means that the three most expensive cities in the world are all in Asia.

Delhi comes in at 133rd position in the table. Delhi is not a great deal cheaper than Mumbai, which comes in at 126th position. From the neighbourhood Dhaka takes 114th position, Colombo 116thand Karachi 132nd.

The difference in the cost of living is dramatic. Taking New York at a mean of 100,Tokyo is 137, and New Delhi 39.

Indicatively, a two-course meal for two at a fairly up market  restaurant costs $38 (Rs1,850)in Johannesburg, $131 (Rs6,300) in London, $208 (Rs 10,000) in New York, $159(Rs7,600) in Seoul and $185 (Rs8,900) in Tokyo.

London is at its most expensive in the past 10 years. It is now the most expensive city in the European Union. Only Oslo in Norway is more expensive in all of Europe.

The cost of living is fairly low where the Euro is the currency. Munich at 44thplace is on a par with Tianjin in China. Athens at 84th place is cheaper than Cairo.

The World Cost of Living Survey shows some unexpected positions where cities in the developed world are often cheaper than cities in the developing world to live in.

Following is the position of some cities on the table: New York 7th,Singapore 9th, Beijing and Chicago 10th, Paris, Shanghai and Tel Aviv 14th, Washington and Manchester 27th, Moscow and Pittsburgh 27th, Bahrain and Dubai 47th, Frankfurt 56th,Abu Dhabi, Brussels and Dublin 58th, Barcelona, Ho Chi Minh and Toronto 77th, Brisbane, Hanoi and Jakarta 90th, Bangkok115th.

The Economist survey report says: ‘’There are two major reasons why a city’s cost of living index will change over time: exchange rate movement and price movement. If, for example, a currency strengthens or inflation pushes the price of goods up, so the relative cost of living in that country will also rise.’’  

The survey conducted every two years compares prices and products in 134 cities around the world. Its purpose is to provide companies with an unbiased and independent guide from which allowances can be calculated for executives and their families being sent overseas.