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Revealed: the cheapest cities to live in the world in 2022

We asked 27,000 Time Out readers around the world exactly how spenny their city is

Sophie Dickinson
Written by
Sophie Dickinson

Living in a city can feel pretty expensive. There’s all the rent you have to pay. There’s all the public transport you have to take. And then, obviously, there’s all the food you have to eat and the beer you have to drink.

But that’s the trade-off you have to make when you choose to live in a city. You come here for all the fun, and then you have to pay for it. That, sir, is life. But turns out not all cities are as expensive as others, as proved by the latest data from the Time Out Index, which surveyed 27,000 city-dwellers around the world last year.

In that poll, one question we asked was: would you describe your city as expensive? And you want to know where people didn’t say that a lot? The northern British city of Manchester, where only 10 percent of respondents agreed that things cost a lot. Just behind it, only 17 percent of residents in Johannesburg, Budapest and Montreal said their home city was overpriced, with 18 percent saying the same in St Petersburg and 24 percent in Prague. Our friends over at Statista even created this handy graphic for us, so you can see exactly where the cheapest spots are. 

Cheapest cities map Statista
Photograph: Statista

By contrast, 99 percent of people in the Swiss city of Zurich said it was expensive. Some 87 percent of respondents in Tel Aviv thought the same, as did 86 percent in Los Angeles and Paris

So, if you’re thinking about upping sticks and moving somewhere new in 2022? Here are the top ten least expensive places to live, according to the Index:

  1. Manchester
  2. Johannesburg
  3. Budapest
  4. Montreal
  5. St Petersburg
  6. Prague
  7. Porto
  8. Rome
  9. Mexico City
  10. Bangkok

And here are the most expensive:

  1. Zurich
  2. Tel Aviv
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Paris
  5. London
  6. Milan
  7. New York
  8. San Francisco
  9. Hong Kong
  10. Boston

Now read our full ranking of the 37 best cities in the world right now.

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