In the United States, Australia or Europe $1000 will usually be just about sufficient to cover the usual banal costs, from rent to utility bills and travel. But in some of the poorest countries in the world, including Cambodia, India, the Philippines, Thailand and Afghanistan, $1000 has a much, much larger value. The level of poverty in these countries means the salaries are markedly – even shockingly- lower than in the more developed Western countries. It could take a worker several months to earn $1000, so in these countries the cost of living is much lower and the value of the dollar is much higher.
We’ve looked at what $10 can get you in the world’s poorer countries, but this time round we decided to investigate further to select the 5 most extravagant purchases you could make for under $1000 in the world’s poorest countries. In those countries where the dollar goes furthest, you can buy for 1K what would set you back 5 to 10 times as much in the U.S. Looking at five of the world’s least wealthy countries, we give you some unique examples of what $1000 can buy – in stark comparison to the price of the equivalent purchase in the U.S. We want to put the cost into context, so you’ll find out a bit more about the average wage in the country in question, and we’ll look at how many days or months you’d have to work there in order to purchase the extravagant commodities.
Read on for some stunning examples of the world’s wealth gaps…
5. Thailand- 30 Nights in a 5 stars hotel – $900-$1000
In Bangkok you could spend one month in a 5 star hotel for $900 – $1000. That includes accommodation for two people in a luxurious 5 star hotel room or studio/apartment. The equivalent New York City would cost a anywhere from $7000 to $20 000.
Thailand is considered one of the poorest countries in the world with an average monthly wage of approximately $490. So to live in a premium hotel for one month, excluding any other living costs including food, bills and healthcare, a local worker would need to spend two months’ salary. Whilst the economy and conditions of life are very poor, Thailand attracts many tourists – especially because it offers accommodation at such an attractive price.
4. India – $1000 = Over 500 packs of Marlboro cigarettes
According to Numbeo.com, a website with statistics for the cost of living aboard, in India a pack of Marlboro cigarettes costs $1.74. With a budget of $1000 you can buy up to 561 packets of Marlboro in India. This is six times cheaper than in the United States, where a packet of Marlboro cigarettes costs $6 – $1000 in the U.S. will only get you about 166 packets
India is among the poorest countries in the world where locals earn an average of $2- $3 per day leaving them with a monthly wage of less than $100 dollars. For the local communities the cost of living is considered high, but for tourists and expats – who could earn an average income of $2000-$4000 a month – the prices in India are considered extremely low. Whilst a local in India needs to work half a day or more to earn $1.74 and buy a packet of cigarettes, a US worker earns $1.74 in only a couple of minutes. This fact is a stark illustration of the value of the dollar in India.
3. Cambodia – $1000 = 1000 Restaurant Meals
In Cambodia the average restaurant meal, usually consisting of a generous plate of traditional food, costs $1. With a budget of $1000 you could, if you were so inclined, eat out at a restaurant for dinner, every evening, for almost three years! This is, at very least, 10 times cheaper than the U.S. where the average cost of a meal in a cheap fast-food restaurant is $10 – here, three years’ worth of daily restaurant meals at the lowest-budget option would cost you at least $10,000.
However, whilst Cambodian prices look like impossibly good value to a U.S. worker or any tourist from the other wealthier countries of the world, a local worker in Cambodia earns an average salary of less than $750 per year. With this salary, daily restaurant meals for a year would equate to half their total salary.
2. Philippines – $1000 = 2000 beers
In the Philippines you can buy one beer for $0.50, so a budget of $1000 will cover you for a total of 2000 beers. This is up to 6 times cheaper than the US, where the average price per beer is in the region of $3 to $4.Therefore, whilst in Cambodia $1000 will get your 2000 beers, in the U.S. the same amount will only buy you 300.
And if you’re interested, a budget of $1000, you can also get up to 1000 of the famous street massages in the Philippines!
A local worker in the very poor Philippines would need to work 3-4 months to afford 2000 beers, whilst an US work will earn that money in well under a month.
5. Afghanistan – Less Than a Year of Internet – $1000
The four items previous items on the list showed you where you can get the most value for you dollar. But we’ve saved the surprise for last. In countries where commodities we take for granted are relatively rare, the price for these services shoots up.
For example, to hook your home up to the interne for a year in Afghanistan, you’ll need to fork up over $1000. That is up to 3 times higher than the cost of Internet in US.
The reason is for this premium cost is that Afghanistan, as a less developed country, has minimum connection to Internet satellites. In order to use standard broadband, locals need to pay premium prices, of $90 a month or more. The statistics at numbeo.com even show that in Kabul Internet costs can go over $400 a month! In the US, the average monthly Internet subscription costs less than $30 per month, hence averaging $360 per year.
If this seems a lot to a U.S. or European citizen, it’s a significantly greater cost for the locals given that a worker in Afghanistan earns just above $1000 in a year. Therefore, if they want Internet connection they need to work for an entire year to cover that cost alone – not taking into consideration other living costs. For this reason, only about 10% of the Afghanistan population has access to Internet connection.
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