May 24, 2024

Asia Affordable Country Statistics China

If you’re looking for the most affordable countries to live in Asia, chances are you’re looking for a more budget-friendly country to relocate to. Perhaps living in Europe or America has gotten too expensive, or perhaps you’re looking to reconnect with your roots.

Whatever your reasoning, a decision to move to Asia would be a big one. It’d be prudent to do as much research as possible before choosing a country. That’s why we’ve made this guide to the most affordable countries to live in Asia, to help you get started. Let’s dive in.

Most Affordable Countries to Live in Asia

RENT-FOR-A-3-BEDROOM-APARTMENT-IN-CHEAPEST-CITIES-IN-CHEAPEST-ASIAN-COUNTRIES.

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This is a list of the 20 Asian countries where life is the most affordable. To create the rating, we used the Numbeo methodology of calculating the cost-of-living index in Asia. 

Note that this article is about affordability only, and we’ll not be delving into any political or economic issues that these countries may be facing. So – let’s learn more about what it costs to live in each of these countries.

20-16

Our first five entries include the world’s second superpower and a series of very different nations spanning South, Central, and East Asia.

20. China

beijing affordable countries asia

Cost of living index: 36.5

Cheapest city: Baoding

Mainland China is the first country on our list, thanks to its cost of living index of 36.5. As the third-largest country in the world by territory and second-largest by population, it holds many potential opportunities, depending on your goals and background. 

In terms of the cost of living, Expatistan reports living in China can be 50% cheaper than living in the US. For example, monthly rent for studios in large cities in the US can exceed $2,000, while in China, it rarely costs more than $1,000

Of course, your cost of living in China is largely determined by the area you live in. According to LivingCost.org, the cheapest city in China in terms of living costs is Baoding. One-person rent wouldn’t usually cost more than $500 there, and lunch in a restaurant would cost you an average of $10.

19. Philippines

philippines economic sectors in gdp statistics

Source: Statista

Cost of living index: 35.9

Cheapest city: Dasmarinas

The Philippines consist of over 7,000 islands. The country has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, offering a huge range of opportunities for those who choose to make a life there. Its cost of living index is 35.9.

Housing in the Philippines can be up to 60% cheaper than in the US, and food prices are even lower. For instance, an average lunch in the US would cost you around $20, but in the Philippines, it won’t exceed $5.

Of course, your wages would be much lower in the Philippines than in the West. The average monthly salary was less than PHP 45,000 ($2,600) per month in 2020. So, your standard of living would depend on your job and location. The cheapest city in the Philippines is Dasmarinas, where rent rarely exceeds $500.

18. Vietnam

vietnam employment by economic sector

Source: Statista

Cost of living index: 34.5

Cheapest city: Hue

The Southeast Asian nation of Vietnam has a cost of living index of 34.5 and is slowly transitioning from an agricultural economy to one focused on industry. This is still in its infancy, however, so if you decide to move to Vietnam, you may be able to contribute to the country’s developing economy.

The choice of where to live in Vietnam would depend on your job. Many expats choose Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, but they’re not the cheapest places to live. If you have the freedom to choose where you want to live in Vietnam, consider cheaper cities like Hue and Can Tho.

On average, food and housing in Vietnam are almost 70% cheaper than in the US. However, bear in mind that Vietnam is a country with some of the lowest salaries in the world, though its poverty rates are very low. Rent rarely goes above $400.

17. Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan poverty headcount ratio

Source: Statista

Cost of living index: 34.3

Cheapest city: Taraz

As one of the Asian countries with the best quality of life, Kazakhstan is appealing to expats thanks to its rich natural resources and culture. With a cost of living index of 34.3, your earnings, especially above the national monthly average of $718, will go a long way.

For instance, housing and food are over 60% cheaper in Kazakhstan than in the US, and transport is over 70% less expensive. Rent can be between $400 and $700, depending on where you’re living. 

Many expats choose the cities of Almaty and Nur-Sultan. However, if you have the opportunity to live elsewhere and want to save money, consider cities like Taraz and Karaganda.

16. Sri Lanka

Galle

Source: LivingCost.org

Cost of living index: 33.8

Cheapest city: Galle

The beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka draws people from all over the world, thanks to its beautiful nature and rich history. With a cost of living index of 33.8, the country offers a lot of opportunities.

In terms of costs, housing in Sri Lanka is 76% cheaper than in the US. As with elsewhere, however, the cost of rent and living will depend on your location.

For instance, if you move to Galle, which is the cheapest city in Sri Lanka, you’re unlikely to spend more than $130 on rent for a three-bedroom apartment. In Colombo, on the other hand, an apartment like this would set you back almost $700.

15-11

From Myanmar to Malaysia to Mongolia, these five countries come with a rich range of histories, cultures, and societies to explore.

15. Myanmar

Myanmar

Source: LivingCost.org

Cost of living index: 33.4

Cheapest city: Taunggyi

Myanmar, formerly known as Burna, is in the fifteenth spot on our list, with a cost of living index of 33.4. Whatever your reasons for moving to Myanmar, keep in mind that a significant portion of the population lives below the poverty line, so make sure you have enough savings to get started.

Transportation in Myanmar is almost 75% cheaper than in the US, which is a blessing, given the country’s huge area. Housing, however, can be somewhat pricier than in some other countries listed, though it’s still way cheaper than in the US. 

For example, living in the capital city of Yangon in a three-bedroom apartment can cost up to $1,400. On the other hand, if you move to Taunggyi, your rent would be around $550.

14. Iraq

Iraq asia affordable countries statistics

Cost of living index: 32.6

Cheapest city: Mosul

The fourteenth country on our list might not be a typical expat destination, but Iraq does have some opportunities. In many cases, expats live in secure compounds where a lot of amenities are paid for. 

Iraq has a cost of living index of 32.6, and the housing there is almost 70% cheaper than in the US – not a huge issue if you’re hosted in a compound, as your employer would likely bear those costs. Food and utilities are also significantly cheaper.

Many expats move to Baghdad. However, if you’re looking to save on costs even more, consider others. Iraq’s cheapest city is Mosul, according to LivingCost.org, though it has seen significant damage from conflict in recent years.

13. Malaysia

Kota Bharu

Source: LivingCost.org

Cost of living index: 32.3

Cheapest city: Kota Bharu

Malaysia is another Asian country that is among those offering the best quality of life but is also one of the cheapest. The cost of living index is 32.3, making it much more affordable than its neighbor Singapore.

If you’re moving to Malaysia, you’re probably on a high expat salary, which will go further here than in the US. For instance, housing in Malaysia is 71% cheaper than in America, and food is 60% cheaper.

Many expats move to the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. However, other cities are also popular. For instance, Kota Bharu in the northeast is the cheapest city in Malaysia, and living there in a single-bedroom apartment can cost less than $200.

12. Mongolia

Cost of living index: 32.3

Cheapest city: Bulgan

If you’re moving to Mongolia for work, the chances are that you’re an English teacher, and you’ll be living in Ulaanbaatar. However, despite being sparsely populated, the country, with its cost of living index of 32.3, on par with Malaysia, does have cheaper places to live.

For instance, if you choose Bulgan for your Mongolian home, you’ll probably be paying around $250 for a one-bedroom apartment, and transport won’t cost you more than $8 per month.

Indeed, Mongolia is much cheaper than the US – housing is 71% less expensive, and food costs 60% less than in America.

11. Russia

Russia unemployment

Source: Statista

Cost of living index: 32.1

Cheapest city (Asian): Tomsk

In the eleventh spot, we have the world’s largest country, the Russian Federation. Although its capital and most expensive city, Moscow, is geographically located in Europe, the vast majority of Russian territory is in Asia. Its cost of living index is 32.1.

Russia’s Asian cities are much less pricey than Moscow and Saint Petersburg. For instance, in Tomsk, you can get a one-bedroom apartment for as little as $160.

However, even if you choose to work as an English teacher in Moscow, your salary would likely be higher than your local counterparts and can go far. For instance, a dinner in a mid-range Moscow restaurant would rarely exceed $50.

10-6

10-MOST-AFFORDABLE-ASIAN-COUNTRIES-BY-COST-OF-LIVING-INDEX.

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As we enter the top ten, we take in some of the world’s most populous Islamic countries – stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Pacific Ocean.

10. Indonesia

Indonesia unemployment

Source: Statista

Cost of living index: 30.8

Cheapest city: Pematangsiantar

Indonesia – a country that’s very popular among digital nomads – opens up our top ten most affordable Asian countries, and its cost of living index of 30.8 is the reason why.

Although living in Jakarta and Bali can get expensive by the region’s standard, the money you earn while living there will go further than in the US. That’s especially true if you’re working for yourself in tech, like many expats in the country. For instance, housing is over 60% cheaper in Indonesia than in the US.

The cheapest city in Indonesia is Pematangsiantar. Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the center will cost you less than $80, for instance. But even if you were living in Bali, an equivalent apartment would be around $600.

9. Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan employment by economic sector

Source: Statista

Cost of living index: 30.6

Cheapest city: Lankaran

A country lying at the crossroads of Europe and Asia is number nine on our list, with a cost of living score of 30.6. Like Mongolia and Vietnam, Azerbaijan has some of the lowest salaries in the world, which explains its low cost of living.

Many expats who move to Azerbaijan choose the country’s capital, Baku. A lot of them are either in oil or teaching English to local students. Indeed, Baku’s low prices mean that Azerbaijan’s housing is over 70% cheaper than the US, and so is its transport.

However, if you want to save even more money, Azerbaijan’s cheaper cities like Lankaran may be the answer. Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Lankaran would rarely cost more than $80, for instance.

8. Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan cost of living

Source: LivingCost.org

Cost of living index: 29.9

Cheapest city: Tokmok

If you decide to move to this Central Asian country to take a job, be prepared for the low cost of living – Kyrgyzstan’s cost of living index is 29.9.

Compared to the US, living in Kyrgyzstan would enable you to spend 56% less on housing, 69% less on food, and 61% less on transport. However, keep in mind that unless you’re on an expat contract with higher salaries, Kyrgyz salaries won’t get you very far.

If you are an expat, chances are that you’ll be offered a job in Bishkek or Osh. But if you have a choice of where to live and want to stretch your salary, cities like Tokmok are a good choice. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Tokmok would cost just over $100.

7. Iran

Iran Tehran affordable country

Cost of living index: 28.4

Cheapest city: Urmia

Despite tensions in Iran, the country’s rich history and culture can easily draw people in, especially those from neighboring countries. The country’s cost of living index is at 28.4.

If you’re an expat in Iran working in a senior position in the rich oil and gas sector, for instance, you can potentially stretch your salary in Iran. On average, the cost of living there is 70% cheaper than in the US, though cities like Tehran and Tabriz can, of course, be pricey. 

If you’re lucky enough to get a position in Urmia, which is a much cheaper Iranian city, you can make your money go even further. For instance, renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center would be around $150.

6. Türkiye 

Isparta cost of living

Source: LivingCost.org

Cost of living index: 27.1

Cheapest city: Isparta

The bridge between Europe and Asia is in the sixth spot on our list. With a cost of living index of 27.1, Türkiye is also on our list of Asian countries with the best quality of life.

Expats are drawn to Türkiye’s mild climate and low cost of living. In addition to working people, the destination is popular among retirees. Given that you can live in the country while spending 78% less than in the US, that’s no surprise. For that reason, many foreigners with strong purchasing power choose to live in Türkiye.

Although a lot of expats live in Istanbul and Antalya, the country offers many other cities where it’s even cheaper to live. For instance, in Isparta in the country’s west, a three-bedroom apartment in the city would be unlikely to cost more than $250.

5-1

TOP-5-Most-Affordable-Countries-to-Live-in-Asia-BY-COST-OF-LIVING-INDEX.

Like this infographic? Feel free to use it on your website or blog, but please remember to give us credit by linking back to techreport.com/statistics/most-affordable-countries-to-live-in-asia in your post.

Our top five most affordable Asian countries have a cost of living index below 27, but they don’t have the best rankings for quality of life. If you’re thinking of moving to one of them, consider the information below.

5. Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan unemployment

Source: Statista

Cost of living index: 26.6

Cheapest city: Jizzakh

The cheapest post-Soviet country on our list is Uzbekistan, which takes the fifth spot with its cost of living index of 26.6.

If you have a job offer from Tashkent or Samarkand or are drawn to the country for another reason, you’ll be pleased to know that living in Uzbekistan is more than 70% cheaper than in the US, especially in terms of food and housing. Utilities are also very cheap, at around $12 for a small flat.

However, if you’re looking to save as much as possible, consider cheaper Uzbek cities like Fergana or Jizzakh. A one-bedroom apartment in the center of Jizzakh won’t be much more than $82 a month.

4. Bangladesh

Bangladesh economic sectors gdp statistics

Source: Statista

Cost of living index: 26.2

Cheapest city: Narsingdi

This Southeast Asian country might be small, but it’s one of the most densely populated countries in the world. If you decide to move to Bangladesh, be mindful of the high poverty rate and low wages. The country’s cost of living index is 26.2.

Housing costs in Bangladesh are almost 80% cheaper than in America. However, with the population’s low salaries, your money won’t go far in Bangladesh if you’re earning local wages.

If you’re earning as a digital nomad, though, that’s another story. To make your money go further, you might consider cities like Narsingdi, where your rent would unlikely to go above $50.

3. Nepal

Nepal inflation

Source: Statista

Cost of living index: 25.9

Cheapest city: Damak

As one of the world’s poorest nations, Nepal appeals to many people, thanks to its gorgeous landscapes, and many expats in the country work in foreign aid. The country’s cost of living index is 25.9.

If you have a budget of $500 a month to live in Nepal, you’ll be just fine. Housing costs are 70% less than in the US, However, as with Myanmar, you should be mindful that most of the local population doesn’t make over $100 per month.

Although most expats congregate in the country’s capital, Kathmandu, the cheapest city to live in in Nepal is Damak. Renting won’t cost you more than $70 a month, and lunch, if you can get used to the local food, wouldn’t be above $1.

2. India

India inflation

Source: Statista

Cost of living index: 22.9

Cheapest city: Aligarh

In the second spot, we have India – the world’s most populous country. As it stands, its cost of living index is 22.9.

The country has a thriving IT sector and is becoming a major global power, which will likely lead to future opportunities for expats – and it may mean that the cost of living index will go up in the future.

For now, though, India’s costs are much lower than those of Western countries, especially the US. For instance, housing costs are 80% less than in America

Many people are drawn to the rich culture of the country and the business centers of New Delhi and Mumbai. However, moving to towns like Aligarh can save you a lot of money – a one-bedroom apartment in the center costs less than $50.

1. Pakistan

Countries largest number in modern slavery statistics

Source: Statista

Cost of living index: 17.6

Cheapest city: Dera Ghazi Khan

The title of the most affordable Asian country to live in goes to Pakistan, with its cost of living index of 17.6 – the only country on the list that’s below 20.

As is the case with other poor countries on our list, you should be mindful of the situation locals live in – not least because Pakistan, along with India and China, has a large number of people living in modern slavery.

If you choose to move to Pakistan and manage to get a good job or have a lot of savings, you’ll be able to stretch your money. Housing in Pakistan is almost 80% cheaper than in the US, and so is food. The cheapest city in Pakistan is Dera Ghazi Khan, where rent costs less than $40 a month.

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