Home Expat Blogs Mexico Shines in New List of the World’s Least Expensive Cities

Mexico Shines in New List of the World’s Least Expensive Cities

Zocalo Square in Puebla, Mexico
Credit: Aleksandar Todorovic | Bigstock

If you live in Mexico, you’re likely not at all surprised that Mexico shines in a new list of the world’s least expensive cities.

Recently, Numbeo, the world’s largest database of user-contributed data about cities and countries worldwide, came out with its analysis of the cost of living last year in 540 countries from around the world.

Numbeo ranks the cities by an overall Cost of Living Index, which is based on data provided by contributors from each city. The data are also used to create a Rent Index, Cost of Living Plus Rent Index, Groceries Index, Restaurant Price Index and Local Purchasing Index.

Mexico wasn’t the lowest in the findings, cities in India mostly lay claim to that title, but Mexican cities do very well. Of the 10 Mexican cities represented, Puebla, which ranks 498 out of the 540 cities studied, has the lowest cost of living with an overall index of 32.65. That compares with New York City’s index of 100, which serves as the baseline for the analysis.

Puerto Vallarta is a close second to Puebla, ranked at #497 with a 32.70 index. The remaining eight Mexican cities are: Mérida (#495/33.18), Querétaro (#494/33.51), Hermosillo (#490/33.86), Tijuana (#485/34.13), Guadalajara (#484/34.19), Cancún (#480/35.58), Mexico City (#469/37.54) and Monterrey (#461/38.45). Other cities in Mexico are not included, primarily because there is not enough crowd-sourced cost of living data for comparison.

The least expensive city is Thiruvananthapuram, India, which ranks #540 with an index of 20.86. The most expensive city in the world is Hamilton, Bermuda with an index of 145.43. The remainder of the top 10 most expensive cities are located in Switzerland, Iceland and Norway.

Not so bad living in Mexico, right? A few caveats, though: First, Numbeo, which has been around since 2009, is a crowd-sourced cost of living database and depends upon consumers living in those cities to reliably report the cost of specific items from which the cost of living index is derived. The number of respondents varies by city.

Second, this is not a scientific, statistically projectable study with a sample of respondents drawn from each city. But, generally, it gives you a good idea of what you might expect.

We use Numbeo and Expatistan, both crowd-sourced cost of living databases, in our cost of living sections. You can help improve the reliability of both by contributing to their databases.