Compared to 2020, the rankings of the most expensive places in 2021 have not changed much, with Hanoi still in the first position. Most noticeably, Quang Ninh rose from sixth last year to second place this year.
Overall, provinces and cities under the direct management of the Government are more expensive than mountainous provinces, mainly in terms of housing rental, services, and tourism entertainment.
The Spatial Cost of Living Index (SCOLI) is calculated according to provinces and municipalities with Hanoi’s figure as 100. SCOLI is a national statistical indicator, reflecting trends and fluctuations in the cost of living between regions and localities over a certain period of time (usually a year).
The SCOLI index serves to make socio-economic development policies, and evaluate the results of the implementation of policies on hunger eradication and poverty reduction, hardship allowances, and wage subsidies.
Based on this report, Vietcetera has summarized the 5 most expensive cities and 5 most affordable provinces in Vietnam.
Most expensive cities in Vietnam
As the capital of Vietnam, it is no surprise to see Hanoi being at the top of the list. Many people come to Hanoi, looking for opportunities to build their careers and settle their lives here. However, compared to Ho Chi Minh - another center of the country, Hanoi has less access to consumer goods. Most of the nation's supply of goods comes from Southern provinces, making it more expensive for Hanoians to buy products.
2. Quang Ninh
The appearance of Quang Ninh in this list surprises everyone as it was only the sixth most expensive city in Vietnam last year. In addition, it is the only province that’s not under government management that made it into the top five.
According to Ms. Nguyen Thu Oanh - Director of Price Statistics Department, the reason why Quang Ninh has the second position is that it is a province deploying modern services industry and becoming one of the comprehensive development centers of the Northern region, in particular, and the whole country.
3. Ho Chi Minh City
The dynamic city which is home to many expats stands in third place. Some products such as clothes, hats, footwear, culture, entertainment, tourism, and appliances have lower average prices here than in Hanoi. However, in terms of services, Ho Chi Minh is still the most expensive place.
4. Da Nang
The only representative from the Central area is Da Nang. Located in a strategic position - right in the middle of the country, it is considered the driving force of development in Central provinces. Not only can it easily connect to different places in Vietnam but this city is also an open door for Vietnam to join in the worldwide trade.
5. Hai Phong
Famous for its reputation as a “Port City", Hai Phong takes its pride in overseas transportation. Hai Phong has many large industrial zones, along with tourism, education, health, and fisheries centers in the northern coastal region of Vietnam. Therefore, together with Quang Ninh and Hanoi, they create a triangle for economic development in the Northern area.
Most affordable cities in Vietnam
1. Tra Vinh
Out of 63 provinces and cities in Vietnam, Tra Vinh is the least expensive place to live, with a rate of 87.6% compared to Hanoi. It is a province located in the Mekong Delta with much tourism potential, due to its rich culture and history, especially the Khmer culture. Recently, the government has invested in this province to overcome geographical limitations and transform it into one of the trade gateways of the region.
2. Hau Giang
The province lies downstream of Hau River, amid an interlaced network of rivers and canals. Hau Giang has strengths in rice and fruit trees of all kinds, rich in aquatic resources, mainly freshwater shrimp and fish, and livestock rearing. Last year, Hau Giang is the most affordable province in Vietnam.
3. Soc Trang
In the same region, we have Soc Trang, another great province to live in with cheap prices. Compared to Hanoi, Soc Trang's living costs are only 88.16%. Similar to Hau Giang, it has multiple advantages to developing an integrated marine economy. Thus, it is understandable why it is such an affordable place to live as it has access to a wide range of food products.
4. Ben Tre
Ben Tre is crisscrossed with a network of smaller rivers and canals. The extensive irrigation that this provides makes it a major producer of rice, but also means that the area is prone to flooding. Not only one of the five cheapest cities to live in, the cost of living in Ben Tre actually decreased from last year. According to the Director of Price Statistics Department, this happens due to the adjustment from the government during the pandemic.
5. Quang Tri
With slightly higher living expenditure, Quang Tri’s SCOLI figure is 88,53%. In the past, the province endured a lot of pain and loss from the war. In modern times, its harsh climate and topography have led to difficulties in the life of locals. Despite that, the local government and its people have strived to accomplish great achievements in economic.