The cost of living in Pakistan is relatively inexpensive. In Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey for 2020, the capital city, Islamabad, was ranked 200th out of 209 cities. In comparison to this, Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan and another popular expat city, was ranked 205th. The cost of living in both cities is very affordable for expats. 

Cost of food in Pakistan

The cost of food in Pakistan is affordable. Expats will find that groceries are relatively inexpensive, and eating out – especially at local places – is also not a costly expense. 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 very 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. However, 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 June 2020.

Accommodation (monthly rent in good area)

Furnished one-bedroom apartment 

PKR 39,000

Furnished three-bedroom apartment 

PKR 60,000


Eggs (dozen)

PKR 112

Milk (1 litre)

PKR 98

Rice (1kg)

PKR 125

Loaf of white bread

PKR 62

Chicken breasts (1kg)

PKR 330

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

PKR 170

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

PKR 650

Coca-Cola (330ml)

PKR 40


PKR 220

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

PKR 1,500


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

PKR 2.50

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

PKR 2,800

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

PKR 8,500


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

PKR 30

Bus/train fare in the city centre

PKR 20

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

PKR 100