Ecuador's Most and Least Expensive Cities

Most Expensive

1. Loja
2. Cuenca
3. Manta
4. Quito

Least Expensive

1. Santo Domingo
2. Machala
3. Ambato

In Loja the canasta básica, or the monetary amount needed to meet basic needs and services is $738.06 per month. For Cuenca, Manta and Quito the amounts are $736.38, $730.81 and $730.76, respectively.

The canasta básicaa for the least expensive city, Ambato, is $695.85. Food comprised 32.03 % of the canasta básica.

Sources: El Comercio

Alright a little analysis:

The disparity between the four most expensive cities, Loja, Cuenca, Manta and Quito is negligible as the monthly difference is only about $8.

The second observation is the allocation of 32% for food. I think this percentage is high because the monthly amounts are small to begin with.   

Can someone live off these amounts? The answer is obviously so, but we don't know the personal circumstances. For instances, do budgets include rent or are the residences owned and paid for completely.

In Quito, to make that sum work, one would have to live in not so great areas. Perhaps, some place like comite de pueblo, carcelén bajo, dusty carapungo, and many areas in the south. There, apartments can be found for about $200. As for food, I guess one has to keep it simple.

That's crazy... Don't know where they get those numbers for Loja, but that would be crazy... Decent apartments can be had for 200, add about 100 for internet, electric, water, propane, etc., and another 50 per person for food and it comes in at $400 for a couple.  Seems their "basic basket" can't be very basic.  Maybe this is based on a large family...  Since I know quite a few families surviving on the minimum wage/basic income (less than 500/month) for a family of at least three, this just seems absurd.

They get the numbers from a government agency (in Ecuador's case, the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INEC)) that goes out and prices standard items in the canasta básica, they're not just pulled out of thin air.  Both in Colombia and Ecuador the government tracks the monthly cost of the "basic shopping cart" in different cities and regularly releases reports to help track inflation and rising costs.

Here's a non-governmental site that tracks prices for all kinds of expenses and shows the cost in local currency, dollars and euros.  This does not track by city but only is an average by country and so local prices can vary.  The first link is for Ecuador and the second for Colombia:

https://preciosmundi.com/ecuador/

https://preciosmundi.com/colombia/

antialiased :

That's crazy...add about 100 for internet, electric, water, propane, etc., and another 50 per person for food...

Well, fifty dollars a month for food on a subsistence budget of beans and noodles and almuerzos is doable for locals earning minimum wages.

But few Expats can live that way indefinitely.

That number, 50, is next to meaningless for the typical Expat way of life.  That would mean no booze except the cheapest wine, no restaurant meals beyond lunchtime almuerzos and a tasty, properly- prepared seafood meal only about once a month, if that.

cccmedia

cccmedia :

Well, fifty dollars a month for food on a subsistence budget of beans and noodles and almuerzos is doable for locals earning minimum wages.
. . .
That number, 50, is next to meaningless for the typical Expat way of life.  That would mean no booze except the cheapest wine, no restaurant meals beyond lunchtime almuerzos and a tasty, properly- prepared seafood meal only about once a month, if that.

cccmedia

That's my point, however.  I was assuming these figures were based on reality for the average resident.  Since the average person is not rich here (at least in Loja region), it would seem silly to imagine that the "normal" resident eats out often, if at all (much less seafood and wine).  So, yeah, for a "minimum" North American/European expat (upper class) cost of living, maybe, but that didn't seem to be what they were claiming to report. 

From the initial post:

In Loja the canasta básica, or the monetary amount needed to meet basic needs and services is $738.06 per month.

Basic derives from base, which implies minimum.  I consider "minimum" the amount below which you will suffer malnutrition, homelessness, be unable to lead a "normal" life, etc.  The reported number is certainly not accurate as a minimum.

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