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City Review

Karachi City Review

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About this Report

Karachi is one of the most populous metropolises worldwide, being home to 25 million people in 2014. Karachi is rapidly growing in population (at 5.8% per year in 2009-2014), yet its living standards remain some of the lowest among the world's major cities, as of 2014. Karachi's economic potential is considerable, although constant violent strife among its ethnically diverse population makes it a very dangerous city.

Karachi highlights

Karachi lags behind most of the world's major cities in terms of labour productivity. In 2014, GVA per employee comprised US$10,100 in the city. Nonetheless, the city was 190% more productive than the rest of Pakistan. Karachi benefits from the presence of key infrastructure (including two ports and an airport) and claims to be the most educated Pakistani city.

Higher value-added jobs contributes to higher income

Disposable income per household is 38% greater in Karachi than elsewhere in the country, as of 2014. The availability of higher value-added jobs in the city boosts household earnings. However, the latter are still very low in the international context.

Greater consumer expenditure than other cities

Average consumer expenditure (excluding transport and housing) was 43% higher in Karachi compared to the rest of the country in 2014. As a result of low income, food and beverages claim 41% of the total consumer budget in Karachi. Although little is left after paying for necessities, the city's households still spend on average 53% more on education and 49% more on clothing and footwear compared to the rest of Pakistan as of 2014.

Housing and transport are not very affordable  

Per household consumer expenditure on transport and housing was 41% greater in Karachi than elsewhere in the country in 2014. Per 1,000 population, the city features over five times as many passenger cars compared to the rest of Pakistan. In addition, Karachi has witnessed a steep upward trend in property prices, which disadvantages the city's affordability by Pakistani standards.

Table of Contents

Karachi Review at a glance

Understanding Karachi Review structure

  • Chart 1 Overview

Key facts on Karachi

  • Summary 1 Key Facts On Karachi 2009, 2014, 2019

Karachi highlights


Delimitation of the metropolitan region

  • Chart 2 Map Of Karachi Metropolitan Area

Main business districts

Economy of the city

Industrial make-up

  • Chart 3 Industrial Composition Of Karachi 2014
  • Chart 4 Labour Productivity: Selected Cities 2014

Recent developments and outlook

  • Summary 2 Labour Market Changes In Karachi 2009, 2014
  • Chart 5 Dynamics Of Real GDP In Karachi, Pakistan And Other Cities In Asia, 2009-2019

Consumer profile

City demographics

  • Chart 6 Population By Age 2014
  • Chart 7 Drivers Of Population Growth In Karachi 2009-2014

Household income

  • Chart 8 Household Distribution By Income In Karachi 2014 And 2019

Consumer expenditure

Structure of household budget

  • Summary 3 Karachi Household Budget Structure By Consumer Expenditure Item, % of total, 2009, 2014, 2019
  • Chart 9 Comparison Of Household Expenditure In Karachi And Pakistan, 2014

City lifestyle

A Potentially Popular Tourist Destination Marred By Violence

Smart City Developments

Motorcycles Gain Greater Popularity Over Passenger Cars

City affordability


  • Chart 10 Household Expenditure On Housing: Selected Cities 2014


  • Chart 11 Household Expenditure On Transport: Selected Cities 2014



  • Summary 4 GDP Development, 2009, 2014, 2019
  • Summary 5 GDP By Origin, Current Prices, US$, Million, 2009-2014
  • Summary 6 Population And Labour Force, 2009-2014
  • Summary 7 Employed Population By Economic Sector, % of total, 2009-2014
  • Summary 8 Population By Sex And Broad Age Groups, ‘000, 2009-2014
  • Summary 9 Population Growth, 2009-2014
  • Summary 10 Forecast Population Growth
  • Summary 11 Population By Educational Attainment, 2009-2014
  • Summary 12 Structure Of Consumer Expenditure By Main Category, 2009-2014
  • Summary 13 Consumer Expenditure By Main Category, Per Household, Constant (2014) Prices, US$, 2009, 2014, 2019
  • Summary 14 Households By Income Band, % Of Total, Constant (2014) Prices 2009, 2014, 2019
  • Summary 15 Households By Income Band, ‘000, Current Prices 2009-2014
  • Summary 16 Inflation, 2009-2014
  • Summary 17 Transport Indicators, 2009-2014
  • Summary 18 Possession of Consumer Durables, % of Households, 2009, 2014, 2019


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