The Least Expensive Cities in the World to Live in 2024

March 14, 2024

Share to Social
Buenos Aires, Argentina

The cost of living crisis has left millions of people across the globe unable to maintain their quality of life. According to research carried out by the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), over the past year, prices have risen by an average of 7.4 percent in the world’s largest cities β€” the fastest rate for at least 20 years. The fastest price increases were for a liter of petrol, utilities like gas and electricity, and food and household goods.

The research also found that because of the price increases, Singapore and Zurich are now the most expensive cities in the world. But what are the least expensive cities in the world to live in in 2024? Keep reading to find out.

1. Damascus, Syria

Dummar district of Damascus
Dummar district of Damascus

Founded in the 3rd millennium BCE, Syria’s capital city, Damascus, is widely considered the oldest city in the world

It is the world’s least expensive city but also one of the least liveable due to the ongoing civil war.

Average prices of goods and services in Damascus:

  • 330ml bottle of water β€” $0.48
  • 1 liter of milk β€” $1
  • 1 loaf of fresh white bread β€” $1.10
  • 1 liter of gasoline β€” $1.23
  • 1 movie ticket to an international release β€” $3
  • Monthly basic utility bills β€” $32.25
  • Monthly rent for a 1-bed city center apartment β€” $278.33

2. Tehran, Iran

View of Tehran
The Milad Tower in Tehran

Iran’s capital and most populous city, Tehran, is the world’s second-cheapest city to live in. 

Tehran may be safer than some other Middle Eastern cities, but instability in the region means there is the threat of conflict.

Residents also struggle with the polluted air, crowded streets, and non-stop traffic, though the local government is taking steps to increase the amount of green space and encourage the use of public transport.

Average prices of goods and services in Tehran:

  • 330 ml bottle of water β€” $0.86
  • 1 liter of milk β€” $0.64
  • 1 loaf of fresh white bread β€” $0.49
  • 1 liter of gasoline β€” $0.78
  • 1 movie ticket to an international release β€” $1.20
  • Monthly basic utility bills β€” $16.87
  • Monthly rent for 1-bed city center apartment β€” $463.83

3. Tripoli, Libya

Aerial view of Tripoli
Aerial view of Tripoli at night

Tripoli, the capital of Libya, is the third-least expensive city in the world to live in. 

While the city is currently home to around 1.15 million people, like Damascus, it is among the world’s least liveable cities due to corruption and civil unrest.

Average prices of goods and services in Tripoli:

  • 330 ml bottle of water β€” $0.14
  • 1 liter of milk β€” $0.95
  • 1 loaf of fresh white bread β€” $0.33
  • 1 liter of gasoline β€” $0.03
  • 1 movie ticket to an international release β€” $5.13
  • Monthly basic utility bills β€” $59.52
  • Monthly rent for a 1-bed city center apartment β€” $234.67

4. Karachi, Pakistan

View of Karachi
Karachi city skyline

Karachi may no longer be the capital of Pakistan, but it is still the country’s largest city, with a population of more than 20 million. 

It may have a reputation for being unsafe, but Karachi is Pakistan’s most cosmopolitan, diverse, and socially liberal city.

Average prices of goods and services in Karachi:

  • 330 ml bottle of water β€” $0.71
  • 1 liter of milk β€” $2.70
  • 1 loaf of fresh white bread β€” $1.62
  • 1 liter of gasoline β€” $3.52
  • 1 movie ticket to an international release β€” $14.42
  • Monthly basic utility bills β€” $241.52
  • Monthly rent for a 1-bed city center apartment β€” $324.09

5. Tashkent, Uzbekistan

International Friendship Square, Tashkent
International Friendship Square, Tashkent

The fifth-cheapest place to live in the world is Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan

A diverse, cosmopolitan city, Tashkent’s multiethnic population benefits from a vibrant cultural scene, a mix of Western and local shops, and plenty of affordable dining options. Additionally, it is a relatively safe city to live in due to a heavy police presence in the city center.

Average prices of goods and services in Tashkent:

  • 330 ml bottle of water β€” $0.33
  • 1 liter of milk β€” $1.16
  • 1 loaf of fresh white bread β€” $0.54
  • 1 liter of gasoline β€” $0.91
  • 1 movie ticket to an international release β€” $4.50
  • Monthly basic utility bills β€” $39.93
  • Monthly rent for a 1-bed city center apartment β€” $644.52

6. Tunis, Tunisia

Tunis, Tunisia
Tunis, Tunisia

Tunis combines North African charm with affordability, making it a magnet for expatriates and budget-conscious travelers.

Petty crime is an issue β€” as it is in most large cities β€” but residents in Tunis can enjoy a good standard of living thanks to well-kept residential buildings, accessible education, and affordable prices.

Average prices of goods and services in Tunis:

  • 330 ml liter bottle of water β€” $0.26
  • 1 liter of milk β€” $0.48
  • 1 loaf of fresh white bread β€” $0.15
  • 1 liter of gasoline β€” $0.77
  • 1 movie ticket to an international release β€” $4.72
  • Monthly basic utility bills β€” $53.06
  • Monthly rent for a 1-bed city center apartment β€” $230.22

7. Lusaka, Zambia

Buildings in Lusaka
Buildings in Lusaka

Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, offers a warm climate coupled with affordable living expenses. However. although it’s one of the safer countries in Africa, protests and demonstrations are common, and tourists are at risk of being targeted by thieves.

Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, offers a laid-back lifestyle coupled with affordable living expenses. With its warm climate, friendly locals, and relatively low cost of living, Lusaka provides a peaceful yet budget-friendly environment for its residents.

Average prices of goods and services in Lusaka:

  • 330 ml liter bottle of water β€” $0.45
  • 1 liter of milk β€” $1.29
  • 1 loaf of fresh white bread β€” $0.88
  • 1 liter of gasoline β€” $1.32
  • 1 movie ticket to an international release β€” $3.12
  • Monthly basic utility bills β€” $109.19
  • Monthly rent for a 1-bed city center apartment β€” $262.56

8. Ahmedabad, India

Ahmedabad at night
Ahmedabad illuminated at night

The world’s eighth-most affordable city to live in is Ahmedabad, in India.

With a population of more than 5.5 million people, it is the fifth-most populous city in India, with many people choosing to live there for its great infrastructure, many job opportunities, and low cost of living.  

Average prices of goods and services in Ahmedabad:

  • 330 ml bottle of water β€” $0.20
  • 1 liter of milk β€” $0.74
  • 1 loaf of fresh white bread β€” $0.56
  • 1 liter of gasoline β€” $1.20
  • 1 movie ticket to an international release β€” $3.60
  • Monthly basic utility bills β€” $39.69
  • Monthly rent for a 1-bed city center apartment β€” $231.84

9. Lagos, Nigeria

A busy street in Lagos, Nigeria
A busy street in Lagos

Despite being one of Africa’s largest and most populous cities, Lagos remains surprisingly affordable. The city offers a range of budget-friendly accommodation, public transport is inexpensive, and basic utilities – while prone to occasional outages and shortages – is cheap.

Average prices of goods and services in Lagos:

  • 330 ml liter bottle of water β€” $0.09
  • 1 liter of milk β€” $1.12
  • 1 loaf of fresh white bread β€” $0.57
  • 1 liter of gasoline β€” $0.32
  • 1 movie ticket to an international release β€” $3.11
  • Monthly basic utility bills β€” $11.86
  • Monthly rent for a 1-bed city center apartment β€” $371.72

9. Almaty, Kazakhstan

Almaty, Kazakhstan
Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan

In seventh place is Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan. However, like Karachi, it remains the country’s largest and most happening city. 

It is also relatively safe compared to other cities of the same size. Overlooked by the Tian Shan mountains, it is in a beautiful setting, plus it is one of the world’s most affordable cities.

Average prices of goods and services in Almaty:

  • 330 ml bottle of water β€” $0.48
  • 1 liter of milk β€” $1.26
  • 1 loaf of fresh white bread β€” $0.51
  • 1 liter of gasoline β€” $0.46
  • 1 movie ticket to an international release β€” $5.27
  • Monthly basic utility bills β€” $63.10
  • Monthly rent for a 1-bed city center apartment β€” $755.25

10. Chennai, India (tied with Buenos Aires)

Tea and coffee vendor on a street in Chennai
Tea and coffee vendor on a street in Chennai

Chennai, located on the southeastern coast of India, provides residents a low cost of living combined with a high quality of life.

One of the biggest IT hubs in the country, India’s sixth-most populous city offers plenty of job opportunities and excellent healthcare and education. 

Average prices of goods and services in Chennai:

  • 330 ml bottle of water β€” $0.23
  • 1 liter of milk β€” $0.64
  • 1 loaf of fresh white bread β€” $0.53
  • 1 liter of gasoline β€” $1.26
  • 1 movie ticket to an international release β€” $2.76
  • Monthly basic utility bills β€” $47.23
  • Monthly rent for a 1-bed city center apartment β€” $194.19

10. Buenos Aires, Argentina (tied with Chennai)

Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires
Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina, is famed for its rich history, passionate culture, and dynamic nightlife. Perhaps surprisingly, it also ranks as one of the least expensive cities in the world.

Accommodation is plentiful for anyone on a budget, a network of trains, buses makes public transport inexpensive, and local eateries can be very affordable.

Average prices of goods and services in Buenos Aires:

  • 330 ml bottle of water β€” $0.95
  • 1 liter of milk β€” $0.87
  • 1 loaf of fresh white bread β€” $01.53
  • 1 liter of gasoline β€” $0.89
  • 1 movie ticket to an international release β€” $4.00
  • Monthly basic utility bills β€” $41.42
  • Monthly rent for a 1-bed city center apartment β€” $450.95

Data Sources:
Economic Intelligence Unit: Worldwide Cost of Living
Numbeo: Cost of Living Prices (all prices converted to US dollars)

Was this article or page, helpful?
YesNo