Press enter to see results or esc to cancel.

Is Dubai a Good Place to Live?

Dubai is a good place to live because it offers low violent crime rates, a family-friendly atmosphere, and modernized accommodations and infrastructure. Americans and other expats headed to Dubai should be aware of some of the adjustments to living, such as unfamiliar government restrictions.

Discover the world's top health insurers.
Compare quotes with a click of the button.

Are you trying to find a place to live as an expat or digital nomad? Whether you’re a serious researcher or a daydreamer, keep reading to discover some benefits and downsides to international living in Dubai.

In this article, we’ll cover everything from healthcare and shopping to climate and schooling. So, take a dive into the pros and cons of living in Dubai as an expat!

If you’re interested in more resources for expats looking into Dubai, also read Living in Dubai–What to Expect.

You can find more information about the cost of living in Dubai in this Pacific Prime Article.

Benefits of Living in Dubai

Dubai offers expats the benefit of a modern lifestyle at a lower price tag than many popular cities in the USA and Europe. Dubai’s offerings are so popular that people from more than two hundred different countries currently reside in Dubai.

Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Road Skyline - Living In Dubai

Here is a list of pros to consider about moving to Dubai, and we’ll cover each benefit of living in Dubai in greater detail.

  1. Shopping Malls and Nightlife in Dubai
  2. Dubai’s Modern Healthcare with Private Accommodations
  3. Dubai: Close to Europe, Asia, and Africa
  4. Dubai Has a Low Violent Crime Rate
  5. Dubai Offers Rapidly Developing Infrastructure
  6. Dubai Has a Lower Tax Rate
  7. Dubai’s Sunny Climate
  8. Dubai’s Affordable Gas Prices
  9. Dubai’s Extensive Real Estate Options
  10. Dubai is Home to International Schools
  11. English is Spoken Widely in Dubai
  12. Diverse Tourist and Expat Community in Dubai
  13. Dubai’s Religious Tolerance
  14. Local Souks and Markets in Dubai
  15. International Dining in Dubai
  16. The Impressive Skyline Architecture of Dubai

Shopping Malls and Nightlife in Dubai

Dubai is home to the largest shopping mall in the world, and expats rave about Dubai’s nightlife. Dubai caters to tourists and expats with bars, nightclubs, and restaurants in a safe environment. There’s no shortage of entertainment in this emirate. Dubai Mall even hosts an annual shopping festival. 

Dubai’s Modern Healthcare with Private Accommodations

Dubai’s healthcare is technologically advanced whether you seek medical care in a public hospital or a private hospital. Expats with health insurance from their employer can receive discounted medical attention at public hospitals.

The Dubai Health Authority maintains quality medical clinics and hospitals that provide free point-of-service care for citizens. 

Private international hospitals in Dubai offer services that draw in medical tourists from around the world. With private health insurance plans, expats and their families have affordable access to this cutting-edge care.

Dubai’s private hospitals attract medical tourists by offering private rooms with concierge services. This standard of care is harder to find in other countries.

Whether you receive medical attention at a private clinic or a public one, Dubai has good hospitals for its citizens and international tourists and expats.

Dubai: Close to Europe, Asia, and Africa

Dubai is in the center of three continents with an outstanding international airport. Expats can travel quickly for business or pleasure to Africa, Europe, Asia, and the rest of the world. For people who need or want to travel frequently, Dubai is a central location.

Dubai Has a Low Violent Crime Rate

Dubai has a low violent crime rate compared to cities its size in other countries. Many would credit Dubai’s strict laws and enforcement for this level of safety, even though some of these restrictions may seem difficult for foreigners to adapt to.

Tall White Building Against Dubai Sky - Living Quality In Dubai

In this table, we’ll compare Dubai’s murder rate per 100,000 to select major cities around the world for reference. We provided a snapshot of cities outside of war zones, mostly in Europe and the Americas.

 

Murder Rates in World Cities
City/Location Murders per 100,000 People
Tijuana, Mexico 138
Caracas, Venezuela 100
Natal, Brazil 75
Cape Town, South Africa 66
St. Louis, United States 61
Baltimore, United States 51
Jakarta, Indonesia 50
Tallinn, Estonia 5.5
Glasgow, Scotland 5.1
Moscow, Russia 4.2
Zurich, Switzerland 3.0
Bangkok, Thailand 2.6
Dubai, UAE 0.3

Dubai Offers Rapidly Developing Infrastructure

Dubai launched one of the most sophisticated transportation systems. Expats trying to get from place to place in Dubai have choices like trams, buses, metro, taxis, and more. This may be one way to overcome the downside of Dubai’s confusing roads and driving habits.

Their infrastructure development extends to high-quality public hospitals and free point-of-service healthcare for Dubai citizens.

Dubai Has a Lower Tax Rate

Dubai does not charge a personal income tax. However, there is a relatively small 5% Value-added tax (VAT) charged to Dubai residents for most goods and services. There is also an excise tax on certain items the government has determined are harmful to health or the environment. 

Dubai’s government spending is covered by taxes paid by foreign countries for goods, oil companies, and corporate taxes.

Dubai’s Sunny Climate

Sun lovers will appreciate the unabashedly sunny climate of Dubai. It’s estimated that Dubai has around 340 days of sunshine per year. If you want to avoid rainy or overcast days, Dubai is just the spot for your next adventure abroad.

Dubai’s Affordable Gas Prices

Dubai’s gasoline prices are much lower than many cities around the world. Online users report paying about USD $3.42 per gallon at the pump in Dubai. In contrast, residents of Los Angeles, CA, pay an average of over USD $5 per gallon. London, UK residents pay an average above USD $8 per gallon.

Dubai’s Extensive Real Estate Options

Moving to Dubai doesn’t limit you to apartment living. Dubai has everything from modest apartments to sprawling villas. There are real estate options at modest and luxury price points. Rent in Dubai is often cheaper than in major cities around the world.

Residential real estate prices in Dubai are rising, with the rapid price increases of 2021 and 2022 finally slowing.

Dubai Is Home to International Schools

Expat families love moving to Dubai because of the quality of the international schools in Dubai. These international schools use world-renowned curricula. Families have their choice of international schools in Dubai, with many of the schools earning an average review of over 4.0 stars on Google.

The Beach Sign Near Jumeirah Beach, Dubai - Life By The Shore In Dubai

English Is Spoken Widely in Dubai

65% of residents in Dubai speak English. That means expats from America, the UK, Canada, or other English speakers will have fewer language barriers when moving abroad to Dubai. This makes Dubai a great first location for digital nomads who want to adjust to international living.

The number of English speakers also makes it easier for expats to find jobs in Dubai.

Diverse Tourist and Expat Community in Dubai

Expats are moving to Dubai from all over the world. That means that the expat community is very diverse. Between the diverse expats and tourists, you’ll be able to meet and interact with people from cultures across the globe.

Dubai’s Religious Tolerance

Dubai supports individual religious freedom so long as teachings and practices don’t interfere with the law. Everyone in Dubai is equal before the law, regardless of religious belief, and religious discrimination is prohibited. 

Do note, however, that Dubai’s official religion is Islam, and many of the country’s policies and laws reflect that. Living in Dubai as a foreigner with a different religion means exercising your own religious tolerance.

Local Souks in Dubai

Dubai is home to souks, or traditional Arabian markets that specialize in particular wares. Dubai is best known for its gold and spice souks, but there is a wide variety. Souks are a valid alternative to shopping malls and department stores with great deals and rich experiences.

Dubai’s International Dining Experience

Dubai features traditional food from the Middle Eastern & Central African region, but you’ll also find international dining options. The diverse population presents opportunities to try cuisine from around the world within the emirate of Dubai.

The Impressive Skyline Architecture of Dubai

Another benefit to living in Dubai is the impressive skyline with modern and artistic architecture. It’s the best kind of urban jungle you can find on the horizon. The tall buildings are more than just large boxes: the skyscrapers have curves and are a perfect marriage of engineering and art.

Downsides of Living in Dubai

Living in Dubai as an expat has downsides as well as benefits. Many expats from countries like Canada and the USA may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with restrictions in Dubai. Dubai also has a hot climate with very few plants. There are a number of cons to know.

Royal Mirage Palace In Dubai - Luxurious Living In Dubai

  1. Dubai Has Strict Internet Restrictions
  2. Dubai’s Climate is Unbearably Hot
  3. Dubai Offers Very Little Greenery
  4. Dubai Lacks a Standardized Address System
  5. Driving in Dubai Can Be Frustrating

Dubai’s Internet Restrictions

Dubai restricts internet sites and practices that the government deems to be in opposition to Islamic principles and morality. To someone from outside Dubai, these restrictions may feel arbitrary or too restrictive.

The Hot Climate of Dubai

Dubai’s sunny climate comes with peak temperatures of over 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Many outdoor enthusiasts may not like feeling trapped in air-conditioned buildings on the hottest days in Dubai.

Dubai Offers Less Greenery than Other Places

Dubai’s hot climate and sandy surroundings prohibit the lush greenery some expats seek abroad. The harsh growing environment in this part of the United Arab Emirates may not be for everyone.

Dubai Doesn’t Have Standardized Addresses

Dubai doesn’t number the buildings as part of an address like you find in other countries. Rather, buildings are described in terms of surrounding landmarks and general street names. Deliveries can be difficult, and so can getting or giving directions. 

Driving in Dubai Can Be Frustrating

The lack of addresses makes driving in Dubai frustrating on its own, but the speed cameras and disorderly traffic in Dubai add to it. You need to be aware of speed limits and watch closely for erratic drivers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What rights do women have in Dubai?

Women in Dubai enjoy the same constitutional rights as men. Dubai’s parliament also includes women. In 2021, their parliament achieved parity between men and women elected. Women have employment and healthcare rights in Dubai.

Conclusion

Dubai is a good place to live for many expats. That’s why it’s very popular! However, the unique combination of benefits and downsides may not be right for every expat. If you want to keep exploring options for living abroad, check out the Best Places for Expats to Live in Asia.

If Dubai is the best fit for you, find out more in The Best Places to Live in Dubai.

Do you have questions about the cost of living in Dubai? Explore Is It Cheaper to Live in Dubai or the USA?

If you have questions about securing the right health insurance plan for moving abroad to Dubai, contact Pacific Prime. Or, if you’d prefer to look at quotes and plan options for international health insurance on your own, you can get free insurance quotes here.

Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Serena Fung is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, a global insurance brokerage and employee specialist serving over 1.5 million clients in 15 offices across the world. With 2+ years of experience writing about the subject, she aims to demystify the world of insurance for readers with the latest updates, guides and articles on the blog.

Serena earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, Canada. As such, she is an avid advocate of mental health and is fascinated by all things psychology (especially if it’s cognitive psychology!).

Her previous work experience includes teaching toddlers to read, writing for a travel/wellness online magazine, and then a business news blog. These combined experiences give her the skills and insights she needs to explain complex ideas in a succinct way. Being the daughter of an immigrant and a traveler herself, she is passionate about educating expats and digital nomads on travel and international health insurance.
Serena Fung