- Download our Delhi Schools Guide
Culturally and religiously diverse, India’s capital, New Delhi, is also one of its most affordable cities. Expats moving to Delhi can expect to live a comfortable life at a cost much lower than what they paid back home.
Mercer’s 2023 Cost of Living Survey ranks New Delhi as the 169th most expensive city out of the 227 cities surveyed, making it more affordable than Mumbai but pricier than Chennai and Bengaluru.
Cost of accommodation in Delhi
Depending on an individual expat’s preferences, accommodation in Delhi can be one of their most significant expenses. Housing in the city centre or one of the sought-after areas and suburbs can be quite steep, owing to the demand in these neighbourhoods.
The further out of the centre one moves, the more reasonable rental prices become. Expats will also need to budget for utilities such as electricity, water and building maintenance.
Cost of transport in Delhi
Getting around in Delhi is fairly easy and affordable, thanks to a comprehensive bus and metro system. Buses may not always be a viable option as they tend to get crowded, and some may not be air-conditioned. The Delhi Metro is accessible using single tickets or travel cards, which offer regular discounts and cheaper off-peak prices.
Expats who are looking for a little adventure can get around using a cycle or auto rickshaw. These are slightly more reasonable than taxis and will be faster as they are smaller. Expats will have to haggle with the driver to determine the fare.
Cost of groceries in Delhi
When it comes to the daily essentials, the cost of groceries in Delhi offers a spectrum of options catering to different budgets and lifestyles. Expats will find that locally sourced fruits, vegetables, and staples like rice and wheat are significantly less expensive than imported items.
The myriad local markets dotted across the city provide a bounty of fresh produce at prices much lower than those found in the supermarkets, particularly those catering to a more Western clientele. For those expats who prefer familiar brands from back home, there is a premium to pay for imported goods, which can be found in high-end grocery stores.
Cost of eating out and entertainment in Delhi
As India’s capital, Delhi offers an eclectic yet highly affordable nightlife entertainment scene. Paharganj is known for its ridiculously cheap and fun bars, while the Greater Kailash area has a thriving but more expensive nightclub scene.
Expats will also be delighted to find that Delhi’s street food culture is alive and kicking, which may help bring the grocery bill down. For expats who prefer a fine dining experience, there are also high-end restaurants serving world-class cuisine at a premium.
Cost of education in Delhi
One of the most significant expenses for expat parents will be private or international school fees. Expats typically choose these options as the language of instruction is English, and international schools allow children to continue their studies.
Tuition fees at these institutions can be exorbitant and exclusive of uniforms, extracurricular activities and textbooks. Expats who are moving to Delhi for work should negotiate for an education allowance in their relocation package.
Cost of healthcare in Delhi
India’s public healthcare system is generally considered inadequate by most expats, so private health insurance is a necessity when moving to Delhi. That said, health insurance premiums for comprehensive coverage can be exorbitant, therefore expats should account for this cost in their monthly budget.
Cost of living in Delhi chart
Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Delhi in November 2023.
|Accommodation (monthly rent)
|Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre
|Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre
|One-bedroom apartment in the city centre
|One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre
|Food and drink
|Milk (1 litre)
|Loaf of white bread
|Chicken breasts (1kg)
|Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)
|Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant
|Big Mac Meal
|Bottle of beer (local)
|Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)
|Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)
|Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)
|City-centre public transport fare
|Gasoline (per litre)
What is the cost of living in Delhi like for expats?
"The cost of living is relatively cheap, and India is one of the cheapest countries I’ve been to. There are some items, however, that are quite expensive compared to the local standards, such as chocolate, meat (and meat-based products), cigarettes, alcohol, etc. The price for vegetables and different kinds of street food or snacks, on the other hand, is extremely cheap and something everyone can afford."
Read our interview with Macedonian expat Daniel to learn more about living in Delhi.
►Check out Lifestyle in Delhi for more on entertainment in the city
Are you an expat living in Delhi?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Delhi. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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