Cost of Living Dubai

Cost of Living in Dubai

Picture yourself making your home in Dubai, a city on the southwest coast of the Persian Gulf. The city is a global business hub and a popular tourist destination in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In Dubai, you’ll see a lot of ultramodern architecture and luxury shopping opportunities, representing the city’s financial considerations. These can make you think about the costs of living.

Dubai’s average monthly living costs for a family of four are 3,698.21 USD (13,652.4 AED). In addition, A single person is estimated to spend 1,063.61 USD (3,926.3 AED). Both amounts don’t include the rent costs.

Dubai is not the most affordable city to live in, but you can plan your finances according to your lifestyle. Rental costs, for example, can change depending on your preferred location.

Now, let’s deep dive into Dubai’s housing, public transportation, food, and healthcare expenses. Discover with us how it’s likely to live in this exciting city.

What are the Living Expenses in Dubai?

Calculating living expenses is mainly related to how your life is in general. For instance, do you have a family you’ll bring to live in Dubai? Or are you going to move to this city alone? Even so, you can prefer the type of accommodation that could be bigger than others. 

The numbers presented below are based on data from a variety of sources, including Numbeo.

Food Costs in Dubai

Dubai’s culinary landscape offers many options, from modern to luxurious spending preferences, depending on your food preferences. Let’s see food costs in Dubai and understand your average spending when living in Dubai.

Average Restaurant Costs in Dubai

Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant


Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course


Cappuccino (regular)


Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle)


Grocery Shopping in Dubai

Milk (regular), (1 liter)


Loaf of White Bread (500g)


Rice (white), (1kg) 


Eggs (regular) (12) 


Local Cheese (1kg) 


Chicken Fillets (1kg) 


Beef Round (1kg) 


Apples (1kg) 


Banana (1kg) 


Oranges (1kg) 


Tomato (1kg) 


Potato (1kg) 


Onion (1kg) 


Healthcare Costs in Dubai

Dubai has a modern hospital system, and it meets international standards. With international medical staff where communication for expats and foreigners is more accessible, Dubai also has some French-speaking physicians. 

Emergency rooms are only available in the public sector. Yet, it’s not like overcrowding or long waiting times for visitors. But of course, it depends on the health issue you are facing. 

The United Arab Emirates is a country that has a specific amount of foreigners. 90% of Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s population is made up of foreign residents. These residents benefit from the healthcare system in the cities they live in.  

What About the Health Insurance in Dubai?

There are specific mandotary health insurance regulations in Dubai, in addition to Abu Dhabi, another emirate in the United Arab Emirates. 

Two health systems in Dubai are as follows:

  • The Dubai Health Authority (DHA)
  • The Dubai Health Care City (DHCC)

Who Needs to Get Health Insurance in Dubai?

Dubai requires you to have private medical coverage as all residents. It’s also legally required for employers to provide basic health insurance for their employees. But it’s not mandotary for their dependents. You’ll have basic health insurance if you have a visa sponsor as an expat. And your salary doesn’t matter. 

Regarding United Arab Emirates nationals, the Thiqa program covers healthcare. It gives full access to many private and public healthcare providers.

How to Get Health Insurance in Dubai?

Here’s what you need to do to get health insurance in Dubai.

  • Check if you are eligible for the Thiqa program
  • If not, check if your employer provides you with a mandatory health insurance plan
  • See a private health insurance plan from a government-approved insurer
  • Compare different health insurance plans
  • Use online platforms to compare and buy health insurance plans
  • Provide the necessary documentation and health declaration form to the insurer
  • Get your health care and insurance linked via your Emirates ID
               💸 "Dubai is the 2nd most expensive city in the Middle East (2 out of 7)" 💸

School Fees and Cost of Education in Dubai

Consider education costs if you or your relatives are going to study in Dubai. See the average price of school programs and Dubai costs of undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

Tuition Fees for an undergraduate program in Dubai range between;

  • 10211.93 USD (37500 AED) to 19062.27 USD (70000) AED per year

The tuition fees for a postgraduate program in Dubai are between;

  • 14977.50 USD (55000 AED) to 20422.89 USD(7500 AED) per year

Some universities in Dubai charge an annual fee for students 

Some universities will charge an annual fee for students taking between 12 to 16 credit hours. There might also be additional fees. Nevertheless, anything above or below will be charged per credit hour.

Arabic is the official language in Dubai, but studying Arabic is unnecessary. Most institutions in Dubai also have English programs. Tuition fees are generally considered high. However, there are scholarship opportunities for international students. Or, working a part-time job and being a student is possible.

Here are some of the education costs and average school fees in Dubai:

Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child


International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child


Transportation Costs in Dubai

Although other expenses in Dubai seem more expensive, transportation can be affordable sometimes. You can use public transportation or taxis and the metro, an economical option to navigate the city. Taxis can be costlier, with a starting fare of around $3.00. Besides, if you are a regular commuter in Dubai, a monthly public transport pass is a practical choice. You can access a network of metros, buses, or even water buses. It covers most areas of the city. 

Let’s see some of the transportation expenses you can expect in Dubai:

One-way Ticket (Local Transport)


Monthly Pass (Regular Price)


Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)


Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)


Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)


Gasoline (1 liter)


Entertainment Costs in Dubai

Entartainment is one of the crucial cost of living expenses in Dubai. Luxury is what we always mention when we’re talking about Dubai. For the entertainment scene, we come to this concept again. There are cinema options, high-profile concerts, and varying costs. International activities are everywhere in Dubai, as a significant global community lives there. So you’ll find many events in English in this cosmopolitan city, from casual movie nights to extravagant live shows.

You can expect to pay around  $13 for a cinema ticket for one person.

Other average monthly costs of living in Dubai are as follows:

Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment


Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data


Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)


Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre


Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre


What are the Pros and Cons of Living in Dubai?

Like any major city, living in Dubai has its advantages and challenges. We’ll be showing you various aspects of life in Dubai, exploring the benefits and drawbacks of residing in this dynamic city. Besides the cost of living, see what you can be ready for when living in Dubai.

Pros of Living in Dubai

  • Tax-free income and the opportunity to save more money
  • Different cultures and backgrounds and a diverse expat community
  • Easy travel in the city with the advanced transportation system
  • A variety of international cuisines and different dining options
  • A strong economy and many opportunities for jobs and businesses
  • Warm weather for most of the year, the beautiful beaches, and the desert
  • Easy communication with most people as an English speaker
  • A vibrant social life and many events and activities

Cons of Living in Dubai

  • The heat, especially in the summer, with temperatures up to 50°C
  • The strict legal system with the possibility of severe punishments
  • Permits for many activities, such as drinking alcohol, driving a car, or dating
  • High rent costs because of high demand for housing and limited supply of land
  • The notorious traffic, being one of the highest rates of car ownership in the world

Cost of Living in Dubai vs US

Housing in Dubai can be more expensive than many cities in the US. The average for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Dubai can be around $1,293, compared to $1,077 in a similar urban area in the US. However, the situation can change in terms of other expenses.

Here is a comparison of some living expenses in the UAE and the US.

  • Consumer Prices in the United States are 27.0% higher than in the United Arab Emirates
  • Consumer Prices, including rent in the United States, are 35.2% higher
  • Rent Prices in the United States are 52.3% higher
  • Restaurant Prices in the United States are 38.7% higher
  • Groceries Prices in the United States are 63.0% higher

A Summary of the Average Monthly Cost of Living in Dubai

  • Dubai is one of the most expensive cities in the world, ranking 1596th out of 9294 cities. 
  • The average cost of living in Dubai is $2045 per month, 70% more expensive than the world average.
  • The main expenses in Dubai are housing, food, transportation, and education.
  • Housing is the biggest expense, with monthly rent ranging from around $987 to $2509.
  • Food is also costly, with an average of around $10 for a combo meal in a fast-food restaurant.
  • Transportation is relatively affordable, with $1.91 for a one-way ticket on local transport and $0.86 per liter of gasoline.
  • Education is another major expense, especially for expatriates who want to send their children to international schools.

The numbers presented in the article are based on data from a variety of sources, including Numbeo.

The Wrap-Up

If you’re relocating to Dubai, you may wonder what this unique city offers you. From what we’ve seen in this article, we can remind you that housing is one factor when calculating the cost of living expenses.

Dubai is expensive, that’s a fact. And it’s more costly in terms of leisure activities and upscale living. You may ask whether it is so, even if you prefer a modest lifestyle. A salary of 5,000 AED ($1,360 USD) might be adequate for single persons. 40,000 AED ($10,890 USD) is a more comfortable standard of living.

When living in Dubai, it also makes sense to check the official currency of the United Arab Emirates, Dirham (AED). And enjoy this interesting city life!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most expensive neighborhoods in Dubai?

Dubai's most expensive neighborhoods include Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai, and Palm Jumeirah. These areas are known for luxury accommodations, high-end amenities, and stunning views, contributing to their premium living costs.

What are the most affordable neighborhoods in Dubai?

Consider neighborhoods like Deira, Al Qusais, and Jumeirah Village for more affordable living. These areas offer reasonable rent prices while providing good connectivity and essential amenities, making them attractive for budget-conscious residents.

What salary do I need to live in Dubai?

To live comfortably in Dubai, an average monthly salary of around 10,000 to 12,000 AED ($2,700 to $3,300 USD) is advisable. This should cover average living expenses, including rent, utilities, transportation, and personal expenses, but the actual amount may vary based on your lifestyle and spending habits.

Is It expensive to live in Dubai?

Cost of living in Dubai can be expensive, particularly in housing and leisure activities. However, the city offers various options to suit different budgets, and careful planning can make it manageable.

Is 5,000 AED a good salary in Dubai?

It's feasible for a single person with a modest lifestyle, especially in less expensive neighborhoods, but it might be challenging for families or those seeking a more comfortable lifestyle.

Is 40,000 AED a good salary in Dubai?

A monthly salary of 40,000 AED ($10,890 USD) is considered very good in Dubai. It allows for a comfortable lifestyle, including quality housing, dining, entertainment, and savings, even in the city's more expensive areas.

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