Cost of Living in Pakistan
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, more commonly known as Pakistan is a country located in South Asia, blessed with both a beautiful natural landscape and a crucial geo-strategic location. Being the world’s fifth-most populous country, Pakistan has a population of approximately 227 million. Also, it is the second-largest country in the world with regard to the Muslim population.
Pakistan covers an area of 881,913 square kilometers (340,509 square miles), as the 33rd-largest country in the world in terms of area, having an expansive 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea in the south. The country shares its border with Iran to the southwest, India towards the east, Afghanistan on the western side, and China to the northeast. Pakistan has a maritime boundary bordering Oman and is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor located in the north.
Both the natural scenery and historical architecture on offer in Pakistan are a true delight for the tourists. Even a single glimpse of some natural marvels and historic landmarks is simply breathtaking. Moreover, the country is home to numerous ancient cultures, including the 8,500-year-old Neolithic site of Mehrgarh in Baluchistan, and the Indus Valley Civilization of the Bronze Age.
Is Pakistan a cheap country to live in?
The answer is yes, Pakistan is regarded as one of the cheapest countries to live in, not only in South Asia but also in comparison to other, more economically stable countries. According to WorldData, Pakistan is the world’s cheapest county to live in, second only to Angola. This sets Pakistan in the list of most ideal countries to stay independently or with a big family.
Cost of living in Pakistan (by city) – Explained
Cost of Living in Islamabad
If you are a bachelor, you need at least Rs. 20,000 (approximately $110) to meet with the monthly rental expense. If you are planning to stay with the family, then allocate a minimum of Rs. 50,000 ($280) for the monthly rental expenses.
Shopping expenses in Islamabad’s markets will cost around Rs. 30,000 on average. The prices in Islamabad vary from area to area, for instance, things are more expensive in F sectors, while in sector G the prices come down. This is because of the difference in commercial property rents in each area.
Generally, expatriates who stay in Pakistan for a longer period rarely find many foreign items, however, in Islamabad, it is relatively easier to find imported food items in many places. This will increase the shopping expense to Rs. 45,000 ($250) as the imported food items are more costly.
The utility expenses vary from season to season. The electricity bills are as low as Rs. 2000-3000 in winter (October to January). In the Summer season, as electricity consumption increases, the electricity bills can go up to Rs. 7,000 ($45) plus.
Cheap transportation is something that Islamabad lacks. Though you can use the Metro bus to reach most places in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, it doesn’t cover the whole of Islamabad. You either have to ride with any of the local taxi drivers, or you can use your popular mobile apps to book a ride.
Restaurants are slightly costlier when compared to other cities of Pakistan. However, if you belong to any of the more developed countries, the food in even the best of restaurants will feel light on the pocket. A mid-day meal at a mediocre restaurant will cost you no more than Rs. 250, and if you go to a reputable restaurant, then the expense for a single-person meal will rise to Rs. 800, which is less than $5.
Cost of Living in Lahore
You can find a single-person accommodation for Rs. 15,000 (approximately $85) in Lahore. However, if you have a family of 4 or more then allocate a minimum of Rs. 45,000 ($250) for the monthly rental expenses.
Lahore is a populous city, and so are the markets. You can find cheap grocery items here and there. The monthly budget of groceries will vary based on your family size. If you’re an individual tourist then you will need around Rs. 15,000 (around $85) for a month’s grocery. If you are living with a 5-member family then this monthly expense can go up to Rs. 50,000.
Utility bills in Lahore are the same as in other cities around the country, with the electricity bill exceeding Rs. 7000 in summers, and remaining within this figure during winters.
Organized public transportation in Lahore is almost nonexistent (with the exception of a few areas accessible through the Metro Bus route). The use of online taxi services remains the only best possible option when it is about traveling inside Lahore. There are very cheap private transporter vans and rickshaws available, but they are not comfortable at all. If you have a personal car, then the monthly fuel expenses will cost you around Rs. 25,000 (approximately $140).
You will find restaurants in every street of Lahore, and with the variety of food selections available, it is one of the cheapest cities in terms of restaurant food prices. Buying food from a restaurant will cost you more than cooking, but it is worth it because of the amazing taste you will find in almost every corner. Though, you need to take care of the hygiene factor while choosing a restaurant in Lahore. A one-person meal from a good restaurant can be easily bought within Rs. 500 (less than $3!).
Cost of Living in Karachi
It is easy to find cheap accommodations in Karachi. You can find a single-person accommodation within Rs. 15,000 (approximately $85). If you have a family of 4 or more then allocate a minimum of Rs. 30,000 ($170) for the monthly rental expenses.
Karachi is regarded as one of the cheapest cities to live or do business in Pakistan. However, the expense of groceries is nearly the same as in other cities. You need to retain a budget of around Rs. 30,000 ($170) for the month.
Utility bills in Karachi are almost the same as in other cities in Pakistan, with the electricity bill exceeding Rs. 7000 in summers, and remaining within this figure during winters.
Traveling inside the city has historically been a matter of concern. However, only recently, the federal government launched the Green Line bus service in the city. This service covers a specific route, therefore, if you prefer more liberty in inter-city travel then online taxi services are the ultimate resort. If you have a personal car, then the monthly fuel expenses will cost you around Rs. 25,000 (approximately $140).
In Karachi, restaurants are inexpensive like in Lahore. You can find a good meal within Rs. 300 (less than $2!).
Cost of living in different cities of Pakistan – Compared
A reputable research and statistics institute has devised the following table comparing the costs of living in different cities of Pakistan.
|Rank||City||Cost of Living Index||Rent Index||Cost of Living + Rent Index||Groceries Index||Restaurant Price Index||Local Purchasing Power Index|
As per the stated values, Islamabad is the most expensive city to live in, while Peshawar is ranked as the cheapest in terms of living costs. Living cost in Lahore can also be noticed to be on the higher side, while the living cost in Karachi is not as much as in other big cities.
Generally, the cost of living across the country is nearly the same, except for Islamabad, which is slightly more expensive as compared to other cities in Pakistan. The overall cost of living, however, depends largely on your living standards, preferences, and family needs.