One of the questions we get asked a lot is if the cost of living in UAE, high? There are a total of 7 Emirates in the UAE, with varied costs of living. Therefore, we need to understand the living costs in each of these regions, understand the average cost of living in the UAE, and make a small comparison globally. In this article, we cover all these factors to give you an in-depth insight into living standards in the United Arab Emirates.
Cost of living in UAE: Is it an expensive place to live in?
The short and straightforward answer is yes. Living in the UAE is relatively expensive as compared to other regions in the Middle East. Perhaps, there are several factors that impact the costs of living that we must understand in detail.
- Cost of living in each of the 7 Emirates
- Various components of living costs
Cost of living in each of the 7 Emirates
Every Emirate has its own range of cost of living. Following is a list of the 7 Emirates and their living costs.
- Dubai: Dubai is definitely the most expensive place to live in the UAE. In fact, it is ranked as the 14the most expensive city in the world. The cost of living in the city for an individual is AED 3,435 and AED 11,800 for a family.
- Abu Dhabi: Coming in at number 2 is Abu Dhabi. It is the second most expensive city in the UAE. The living costs in the city for an individual is AED 3,180 and AED 10,800 for a family of four. These costs are excluding the cost of rent.
- Sharjah: The third most expensive city in the UAE is Sharjah. The average cost of living for a single person in the city of Sharjah is AED 2,670. On the other hand, for a family of four the calculated cost of living is AED 8,980.
- Ajman: Considered to be the one of most cost-effective and affordable cities in the UAE, Ajman is a great place for families to live in. The calculated cost of living for an individual in the city is AED 2,370, while the cost of living for a family of four is AED 8,130.
- Ras Al Khaimah: The northernmost city of the UAE, Ras Al Khaimah, is known for its vast lands and mountain ranges. Several families choose to stay in the city, due its affordability. The average cost of living for a family of four in Ras Al Khaimah is anywhere between AED 7,500 – AED 9,000.
- Umm Al Quwain: Situated between the city of Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah, is the least populous city in the UAE, Umm Al Quwain. The cost of living in the city is less. However, the accessibility to resources is not as easy as in other Emirates.
- Fujairah: The last Emirates on our list is the beautiful mountain city of Fujairah. Surrounded by high rise mountains and built on clearwater shores the city is home to a total of 97,200 residents. The living costs are relatively inexpensive as compared to other Emirates. It is also very well facilitated with resources.
Various components of living costs
Now that you have seen the cost of living present in the seven Emirates. Let’s take a quick look at the various components that are used to measure the cost of living in these regions.
- Cost of Education in UAE
- Food prices in UAE
- Utility related costs in UAE
- Rental prices in UAE
- Transportation related costs in UAE
- Cost of healthcare in UAE
Cost of Education in UAE
Education is one of the most essential requirements that is not compromised in the region. The cost of education will depend on the grade and school you choose. Students of Emirati nationality are given free education in public schools. On the other hand, expatriate students are required to pay a fee for both private and public schools.
The fee structure for students in public schools annually is close to AED 6,000. Subsequently, the annual fee for expatriate students in international and private schools is between AED 27,000 to AED 43,000.
Food prices in UAE
To calculate the price of food in the UAE, a few essential items are taken into consideration to make the comparison easier. Following are the basic food requirements and their prices:
- Bread: Taking two loaves of bread into consideration, the cost of it is AED 5.
- Apple: If you are looking for fruit intake, apples are an essential. The price of one kg of apple is AED 8.
- Egg: Another important requirement in one’s diet is the inclusion of eggs. The price of one dozen eggs in the UAE is AED 11.
- Milk: After the need of water, another important fluid intake requirement would be milk. Hence, you can buy a bottle of milk in the UAE for AED 6.
- Chicken: If you are looking to buy a healthy piece of chicken breast in the UAE, the prices are between AED 26 – AED 28.
In order to survive in the UAE or anywhere else for that matter, the dependence on certain utilities are inevitable. The three basic needs in terms of utility required to run a household would be water, electricity and a gas connection.
The combined cost of these amounts to AED 600. This can be reduced depending on your usage. On the other hand, the cost of using internet service ranges from AED 270 – AED 300.
Rental prices in UAE
Taking a proper house into consideration, the cost of living is high in the UAE. The average range of rental prices in the UAE is between AED 30,000 to AED 52,000 per year.
This is particularly applicable for the simple studio style apartments. However, if your preference is to reside in something bigger, the price of it will also increase accordingly.
The transportation system in the UAE is efficient, improving connectivity between different localities, including other Emirates. Especially Dubai where travel between places is improved due to the metro. The average price of traveling on the metro is AED 2 – AED 7.5.
Subsequently, the cost of traveling on a bus is anywhere between AED 3 – AED 5. The prices will vary based on the fuel prices prevailing in the market.
Cost of healthcare in UAE
One of the most integral parts of any economy is the healthcare system. It is a mandatory requirement to have medical insurance, in order to obtain an Emirates ID.
Companies based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are required to provide their staff with medical insurance facilities. The average cost of medical insurance per year for an individual is AED 10,000.
Which is the most cost effective Emirate to live in the UAE?
Ajman is the most cost-effective and affordable place to live in the United Arab Emirates. Everything from property prices, rental rates, transportation, schools and other infrastructure are made available at relatively affordable prices. The average cost of living for an individual is AED 2,370, and AED 8,130 for a family of four.
As a comparison, the cost of living in New York city is $1,430 (AED 5,260) for an individual person and $5,200 (AED 19,200) for a family of four. Therefore, the cost of living in Ajman is 57% less than that of New York.
The most expensive city in the UAE
Hands down, Dubai is the most expensive city to live in the UAE. The cost of living in the city is amongst the highest in the world. From what we have discussed above we see that everything from transportation to schooling are all on the higher side.
One of the main reasons for the high standards of living is because of the infrastructure available in the city. The Sheikh Zayed road for instance, is a 14 lane highway which is the biggest in the region.
Subsequently, the schools present in the city are abreast of international standards. Other aspects that contribute to high living costs are as follows:
- High-end dinners in the region
- Easy accessibility enabled through metro and bus services
- Highest degree of safety and security enabled by 24-hour surveillance
- High salaries/remuneration for working class residents of Dubai
All of the above mentioned factors contribute to the high cost of living in the UAE.
Benefits of living in the UAE
If you are thinking about moving to the UAE, here are some of the benefits that you must know about living in this marvelous country.
- The United Arab Emirates is considered as a tax free heaven
- Its economy is stable and rapidly developing
- Plenty of opportunities for expatriates
- The region is got one of the best healthcare facilities in the world
- Safety is of no concern, as the UAE is amongst the safest places to live in the world
- Buying your own vehicle is relatively affordable with great pre-owned options
- School and university facilities for students is also amongst the best in the world
Considering all the above points, what more would you like to have in a country that you live in.
Should you move to the UAE?
Yes you should. If you are looking to migrate to another country, the UAE is a great place to live. For job seekers and students looking to pursue their higher education, the United Arab Emirates, present several opportunities for growth and development.
Not only that, but for entrepreneurs who are looking to expand their operations and capture a greater market, the UAE is a lucrative place to be. It is an exceptional destination for individuals and families to live in. So what are you waiting for, pack your bags up and move to the UAE now.
Cost of living in UAE: Worth every penny
Despite ranking amongst the most expensive places to live in the world, the United Arab Emirates is a great place to live in. It not only provides you the safety of living but also enables the most fruitful opportunities that are worth grabbing. Therefore, if you are looking to migrate to an exotic foreign destination in the Middle East, UAE is the place to be.