The cost of living in Pakistan is low. In Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey for 2021, the capital city, Islamabad, was ranked 199th out of 209 cities. In comparison to this, Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan and another popular expat city, was ranked 201st. The cost of living in both cities is extremely affordable for expats. 

Cost of food in Pakistan

Food is inexpensive in Pakistan. Expats will find that groceries are cheap, and eating out – especially at local places – is also not a costly activity. There are plenty of markets selling local produce, though expats should be cautious about washing food items carefully in order to prevent getting sick from the water.

Cost of public transport in Pakistan

While getting around in Pakistan is very cheap, expats should note that the public transport system lacks in safety measures, and the roads can be quite dangerous. That said, bus and train fares are extremely affordable, and expats who choose to buy a car will be pleased to know that the cost of petrol is low too. 

Cost of education in Pakistan 

Schooling is free (and compulsory) for all children aged five to 16. That said, expat parents will find that the standard of education at public schools is considerably lacking, and therefore will likely send their child to one of the international schools located in Islamabad, Karachi or other main cities. 

School fees for international schools can be very pricey, and there may be additional costs for extras such as uniforms, stationery, extra-curricular activities and school transport.  

Cost of living in Pakistan chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Islamabad for December 2021.

Accommodation (monthly rent in good area)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

PKR 28,500

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

PKR 19,300

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

PKR 64,800

 Three-bedroom apartment outside city centre

PKR 40,200


Eggs (dozen)

PKR 190

Milk (1 litre)

PKR 135

Rice (1kg)

PKR 165

Loaf of white bread

PKR 90

Chicken breasts (1kg)

PKR 410

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

PKR 280

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

PKR 650

Coca-Cola (330ml)

PKR 52


PKR 270

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

PKR 2,500


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

PKR 2.75

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

PKR 4,100

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

PKR 14,900


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

PKR 30

Bus/train fare in the city centre

PKR 30

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

PKR 118