While Bobby's right that about 8% of Lima has a high income relative to the rest of Peru, what's more pertinent is how many of Lima's residents have an income that's equal to the average income (adjusted for PPP) to London, Paris, Madrid, New York, etc. The figures are pretty low. It's about 8% of people in Lima. In other words, 8% of people in Lima earn the average median wage, adjusted for price differences (PPP) of a major US or European city. As for the super rich in Lima, yes they exist, but there's not many. And as for those earning $100,000 or more in Lima, it's less than 1% of the population.
Adding all those together with those who are very poor and those on average or below average incomes, of $5,000 per head (up to $10,000 at PPP), Lima's economy is less than one tenth the size of London's or New York's. To put it another way, Lima's consumer purchasing power is equivalent to a London or New York of 700,000 people. London's economy alone at about £600 billion ($920 billion) is about three times the size of the whole of Peru's, which is $320 billion adjusted for PPP (Peru's nominal GDP is $200 billion). And that's ignoring its vast hinterland of commuter towns in the southeast of England.
Now, if we add into the equation such things as quality of life, cultural richness, education, etc, Lima falls down again compared to any major capital. Its open spaces and areas of greenery are tiny compared to London or New York. Think about Hyde Park, Central Park, Hampstead Heath, there's nothing like that here. And as for the museums, the theatres, the cinemas, etc, again it's not even in the same ball park...
That is not to criticise Lima. It has its unique qualities that make everyone have a reason for liking it. It's a coastal city with nice restaurants, friendly people, a growing economy, but comparing it to a major capital city like London or New York, or Tokyo is just pointless. The things you have to think about other than price of land per square metre are the quality of life, cultural richness, its economy, employment opportunities, income levels, freedom of expression, universities, schools, crime levels, level of corruption, strength of public institutions, air quality, quality of medical coverage, public transport, infrastructure, etc...
If you want to consider Lima in terms of a Western city, you have to think of it as a small enclave of 500,000 people earning average and above average western wages, surrounded by a vast pool of cheap labour, or 7½ million people earning between a few dollars a day up to about $10,000 a year. So economically it's the size of Baltimore or Nashville in the States, or Manchester or Glasgow in the UK. But in terms of public transport, infrastructure, schools, medical coverage, etc, as I mentioned before, it lags behind. Perhaps with continued ecomonic growth, increased social spending, better infrastructure and public transport and a strengthening of its institutions, in ten or 20 years, it could look a lot better.
In terms of living here, is it better than the west? Well, that's very much a personal choice and for some people here, life offers a richness that they find lacking in other places in the world, But aside from what you want in life, for most people in Lima the big issue is how much money you've got and how far will it go? If you have a an average US or European income, you really need to think about what is cheaper here. Property in the nicer areas of Lima is no longer particularly cheap, so unless you're coming from London, New York, etc, it looks overpriced for what you get. So what's cheap to a westerner apart from taxis, haircuts and bus fares are usually anything that involves using labour?
To have a good life in Lima, you really need to be able to take advantage of its cheap labour. Having 24-hour porters in your building, getting a man to do your gardening, or paint your house or fix your boiler, these are all things that cost less. But things that the rich do like travel by air, drive a nice car, buy expensive electronic products, these all cost slightly more or a lot more than in Europe or the States. Owning a car, for one, is much more expensive. There are no true budget airlines to other parts of Latin America. Buying a ticket to the US or Europe can cost double what a consumer in Europe or the States will pay for the same ticket to Peru. To balance everything out, that means that with an income of say $50,000 a year, catching lots of taxis, having a nanny, a maid and a gardener and buying a decent sized house with a swimming pool on the outskirts of Lima is the real advantage of living in Lima. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/marketpl ... london.htmhttp://www.uncsbrp.org/economicdevelopment.htmhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Peru