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Cost of living in the UAE/Dubai 2024

The cost of living in the UAE/Dubai  is one of the most important factors to consider when planning your move here. Whether you’re looking to buy or rent, the price of everyday expenses can vary greatly from city to city. In UAE/Dubai, ex-pats can expect to pay more for accommodation and utilities than they would in Abu Dhabi. However, Dubai offers more job opportunities and a greater selection of leisure activities. Here’s a breakdown of the cost of living in UAE/Dubai.

Living expenses

Whether living in the UAE is expensive is a resounding yes. Although the Cost of living in the UAE/Dubai varies per emirate, it is generally costly. In terms of the most expensive cities for expats worldwide, Abu Dhabi and Dubai have declined. However, expats in both locations should still plan on paying half of their income for rent.

  • Dubai is the most costly emirate (with Abu Dhabi as a close second)
  • Most Affordable emirate: Ajman

Cost of living in Abu Dhabi, Dubai & Ajman on average

Cost of living in the UAE/Dubai for a Single Person;

Abu Dhabi

8,200 AED (2,230 USD)


10,090 AED (2,750 USD)


9,420 AED (2,565 USD)

Cost of Living for a Four-Person Family:

Abu Dhabi

20,330 AED (5,535 USD)


13,200 AED (3,595 USD)


22,970 AED (6,255 USD)

Cost of living in the UAE/Dubai

Daily living costs in the UAE are reasonable compared to rent prices. A family of four may expect to pay about 12,000 AED per month on average for living expenses (3,000 USD). This covers food, transportation, recreational activities, and dining out but excludes rent. Therefore, a single person should budget around 3,000 AED (800 USD).

Food and alcohol costs in the UAE

Alcohol is only available for purchase in a select few bars, hotels, and clubs according to Sharia law. For residents to consume alcohol, a specific license is required. Read more about this in the section below on crime and punishment. Alcohol is costly in the UAE, despite this. A bottle will run you about 58 AED (16 USD).

Utility Billing

The average cost of utilities for electricity, gas, and water is 600 AED (163 USD). Most of this expense will run the AC and purchase power. Therefore, only 300 AED should be spent monthly on the internet (82 USD).

Education Cost

You must pay whether your child attends a public or private school. For Emirati citizens, public schools are free; however, expat families must pay a charge. The average annual expenditure for government schools is 6,000 AED (1,635 USD). International and private schools cost between 27,640 and 43,790 AED for foreigners (7,525–11,922 USD). Price varies according to the institution and grade level.

Rent Charges

Even if most expats’ housing is paid for by their employers, it is still a good idea to be aware of the costs. In the United Arab Emirates, the average annual rent for a studio apartment is between 30,000 and 50,000 AED (8,100-13,600 USD). Costs for one- or two-bedroom apartments range from 70,000 to 100,000 AED (19,000–27,220 USD). In Dubai, the most costly emirate, a luxurious one-bedroom apartment costs around 96,670 AED per year (26,317 USD). An average one-bedroom will cost about 56,200 AED per year (15,300 USD).

Cost of Healthcare

Like with education, expats must pay for both public and private health insurance. You must provide evidence of health insurance in order to be given a resident visa in the United Arab Emirates. In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, employers are obligated to offer insurance to their workers. If your job does not provide health insurance, you must purchase it.

A moderately complete health insurance policy in the UAE will have an annual cost of roughly 10,000 AED (2,720 USD). Basic insurance for a family of four will cost around 17,000 AED (4,630 USD).

Cost of living in the UAE/Dubai: Cost of Travel and Transportation

Dubai taxi prices

  • AED per kilometer: 0.44 USD = 1.6; take a taxi: 0.82–0.95 USD = 3–3.5
  • The minimum travel fee in AED is 2.77 USD = 10 AED.
  • A trip around Dubai’s centre may cost 8.2 USD = 30 AED.

About 16.3 USD = 60 AED will get you from Dubai’s downtown to Jumeirah beach.

  • Dubai and Sharjah 50–65 AED = 13,6–17,7 USD
  • 95,3 USD = 350 AED from Abu Dhabi to Dubai

Cost of living in the UAE/Dubai: UAE long-distance buses

  • Dubai to Sharjah: 1 USD = 7 AED
  • Abu Dhabi – Dubai 1 hour and 20 minutes equals 5,4 USD and 20 AED.
  • Costs of the Dubai metro and buses
  • Depending on the distance travelled, a single red card might cost between 0.68 and 1.77 USD (or 2.5 and 6.5 AED).
  • Reusable silver card; journey costs between 0.63 and 1.58 USD (or between 2.3 and 5.8 AED); card costs between 5.4 and 20 USD (3.80 to 14.14 AED on the account).

Cost of living in the UAE/Dubai: Final Words

The living cost in UAE is high, among the world’s top 10 most expensive countries. It is also one of the most expensive places to live in the Middle East. The price of food, transportation, and utilities is high because of the emirates’ vast wealth. The UAE has a population of around 10 million, but only 2% are Emirati citizens, while Indians make up 12% and Pakistanis make up 14%. The cost of living in Dubai is higher than that in Abu Dhabi because Dubai has more expats than Abu Dhabi.

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