If you have ever been abroad, somewhere in Europe/America/Australia, you will know that what you spend over a month in Egypt can be spent over a week in a foreign country. If you haven’t actually come to terms with this fact, you will believe it when three international indexes (UBS microsite, Expatistan and Numbeo) rate Cairo as one of the cheapest cities to live in.

The other city that never sleeps, New York, was the benchmark used to compare Cairo (and other cities) in each of those indexes. The data for each site were provided by numerous contributors who are currently expats/tourists or locals in these countries.

In the UBS microsite index, they used 4 pillars to rank 77 cities. Cairenes made it to the bottom of the list with a ranking of 77 in price levels, but lost out in their ability to make purchases with one unit of the local currency (76th), the lowest in earnings (77th), and the lowest money earned for each working hour (76th).

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If you believe that money buys/contributes to happiness, Expastistan ranked Egypt as one of the cheapest cities for expats: 307th out of 347th (the lowest ranking being the lowest cost of living).  Imagine that you decided to travel to the UK, your pockets will be sucked dry (not yours, probably your dad’s). Expats on the other hand, will earn double/triple what you make, and pay almost 75% (on average) less than what they are paying in their home countries for the same stuff they buy there.

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The last index, Numbeo, found out that while Egypt ranks the 59th out of 60 in terms of quality of life, it still has one of the lowest costs of living. However, it does not rank well in terms of pollution, traffic and purchasing power (shocking, right?).

However, the low cost of living has to be measured against earnings/working hours to justify an actual benefit for locals, not just expats or tourists. According to Expastistan, 11,197LE ($625.13) is the average monthly cost of living in Egypt (excluding one-off purchases). In a 2017 report by Al Masry Al Youm, a family’s average annual income in Egypt is around 44,200LE (3.683.3333333333LE monthly).

By Adel M. Fakhry

Cover by arch2452