The Top Ten Cheapest Cities in the World
In its annual Worldwide Cost of Living report, The Economist Intelligence Unit has ranked the Zambian capital Lusaka as the cheapest city in the world to live. The report uses New York as a base city, to which it ascribes a value of 100 on the World Cost Of Living index (WCOL). Lusaka scores 41 on the WCOL – that is, the cost of living there is just 41% of the cost of living in New York.
There has been a worldwide trend downwards, with the average WCOL across all cities surveyed at 87.8 five years ago, 79.7 last year and in the last twelve months it has fallen to 71.5.
Some cities in the survey present exceptional problems in The Economist’s efforts to rank them. Chief among them is Caracas, Venezuela, which has been extremely badly affected by the worldwide plummet in oil prices. With an official, semi-official and black-market exchange rate for the Venezuelan bolivar, the cost of living in the city could be four times more expensive than New York or ten times cheaper. The official exchange rate is ten bolivars to one US dollar, but unofficial traders will buy dollars at 100 times that number. The Economist used the semi-official Simadi rate for the survey, which was still enough to push Caracas from a top ten city two years ago to a bottom ten city this year.