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Mumbai, Delhi are cheapest cities, but conditions apply

“Mumbai, Delhi among world's cheapest cities to live,” said a headline in the Economic Times.

If you live in Mumbai or Delhi, you were stunned by the headline. However, it’s true, so read on.


The cheapest but not for all. AFP

“Financial capitals of India and Pakistan -Mumbai and Karachi - were the cheapest cities in the world to live followed by New Delhi, according to a new survey… the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) worldwide cost of living index found…The EIU found that Mumbai shared the top ranking with Karachi in the survey based on costs of over 160 items ranging from transport, utilities, food and clothing,” said the story.

“Mumbai, Delhi among world's cheapest cities: Economist Intelligence Unit,” said the Indian Express headline, with the copy virtually parroting the Economic Times story.

Readers were incredulous, it seems.

What the ET and the IE seem to have missed are the qualifying statements that the EIU makes. Interestingly, the table accompanying the ET story, unlike the story itself, takes note of the qualifying statements.

Here’s the table from the ET story (article continues below):


Tucked away in the details is the all-important note: “The index measures the cost of an expatriate lifestyle in over 131 cities using a weighted average of the prices of 160 products and services.” The emphasis is Firstpost’s.

“The Worldwide Cost of Living survey enables human resources line managers and expatriate executives to compare the cost of living in 140 cities in 93 countries and calculate fair compensation policies for relocating employees.” the Economist Intelligence Unit explains.

Now it’s clear. Mumbai and Delhi are among the two cheapest cities in the world when measuring the cost of an expatriate lifestyle.

It’s not the cheapest for you and me, sadly.

Published Date: Feb 06, 2013 11:42 AM | Updated Date: Feb 06, 2013 13:10 PM