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The Cost To Live In Dubai As An Expat

Individuals living in Dubai spend about USD $1,975 a month on living expenses. On average, it costs about USD $4,546 a month for a family of 4 to live in Dubai. The average price of rent in Dubai is USD $1,193 a month, and the average annual salary in Dubai is USD $53,148.

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Are you an expat or a dependent of an expat who is looking to move to Dubai? Are you curious to learn what it costs to live in Dubai? If so, this Pacific Prime blog post is for you!

We have gathered a ton of data for you with estimated price averages for living expenses in Dubai such as housing, food, transportation, and health insurance. We have simple charts that make it easy to get an idea of what you might spend when living in the UAE.

After reading this article, we highly recommend you check out our blog post about what to expect when living in Dubai as an expat and our comprehensive guide about moving to Dubai

If you are looking to discover the right health insurance plan for your needs in Dubai, compare insurance plans on your own or do so over the phone with one of our insurance experts.

Dubai’s Average Cost of Living for Expats

The average monthly cost of living in Dubai for one person is USD $1,975. The average monthly cost of living for a family in Dubai is USD $4,546. Expats should know Dubai ranks in the top 17% most expensive cities in the world and is considered the most expensive city in the United Arab Emirates.

Atlantis Resort In Dubai, UAE

These statistics come from LivingCost.org, which is a site that collects crowd-sourced data about living expenses around the globe.

Dubai is considered 49% less expensive than New York City, 20% less expensive than Toronto, and 35% less expensive than London.

Learn more about each of these comparisons by reading our blog posts about living in Dubai as an American, a Canadian, a UK citizen, and an expat.

Overall Living Expenses Individual Cost (USD) Family of 4 Cost (USD)
Average monthly cost of living in Dubai $1,975 $4,546

 

In the following sections, we will break down the average monthly living expenses related to housing, food, transportation, and healthcare. All of our monetary values will be in USD and are intended to be price estimates only. This post is not intended to represent exact price values.

You can discover in another post if it is cheaper to live in Dubai or the United States.

Housing Expenses in Dubai for Expats

Rent in Dubai for one person costs about USD $1,193 a month on average. Rent in Dubai for a family of 4 costs about USD $2,125 a month on average. Expats can spend both less on rent and more on rent, depending on your budget and lifestyle preferences.

If you’re an expat who is interested in the United Arab Emirates but isn’t completely set on moving to Dubai, consider the other best places to live in the UAE as an expat.

Below is a chart that compares the average Dubai housing expenses for individuals and families.

 

Type of Housing Fee Individual Price (USD) Family of 4 Price (USD)
Monthly Rent with utilities $1,193 $2,125
Utilities, electrical, heating, water etc. $126 $190
Internet $90.10 $90.10

 

This next chart displays the average prices for the following types of apartments in Dubai that expats may choose to live in.

 

Type of Housing Accommodations Average Price (USD)
1-room apartment downtown $1,461
Cheap 1-room apartment $855
3-room apartment downtown $2,763
Cheap 3-room apartment $1,616

 

You can see a more in-depth look into the average rent in Dubai here.

Food Expenses in Dubai for Expats

Individuals and expats living in Dubai spend about USD $451 on average on food expenses each month. Families in Dubai with four people spend about USD $1,172 on food expenses each month. Groceries can be more affordable in Dubai than in other countries, such as compared to the United States.

Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE

Food expenses for expats in Dubai will largely depend on the way they choose to spend their money. There are plenty of luxury restaurants for those who want that type of experience.

Average Grocery Expenses in Dubai

Below is a chart that displays the average Dubai grocery prices as reported by locals.

 

Type of Food Dubai Price (USD)
1 qt of milk $1.74
1 lb of bread $1.25
1.2 lb of rice $1.82
12 eggs $3.51
2.2 lb of cheese $14
2.2 lb of chicken breast $9.04
2.2 lb of steak $12.10
2.2 lb of apples $2.11
2.2 lb of bananas $1.82
2.2 lb of oranges $1.85
2.2 lb of tomatoes $1.40
2.2 lb of potatoes $1.05
2.2 lb of onions $0.95
1 qt of water $0.40
2 L of Coca-Cola $2.31
1 bottle of wine $18.40
½ liter of beer $3.28
cigarette pack $5.46

 

Average Restaurant Prices in Dubai

Below is a chart that displays the average Dubai restaurant prices.

 

Type of Restaurant Meal Dubai Price (USD)
Lunch $10.20
Dinner for two $68.10
Fast food meal $8.35
Beer in a pub $12.10
Cappuccino $6.47
Pepsi or Coke $1.31

 

Transportation Expenses in Dubai for Expats

Expats in Dubai can expect to spend about USD $190 a month on transportation expenses if they are single and about $485 a month if they are part of a family. A monthly public transportation ticket in Dubai costs about USD $81.90 on average.

Below is a chart that displays the average Dubai transportation prices as reported by locals.

 

Type of Transportation Dubai Price (USD)
Local transport ticket $2.04
Monthly transport ticket $81.90
Taxi ride for 5 miles $11.80
¼ gallon of gas $0.89

 

Healthcare Expenses In Dubai For Expats

A private health insurance plan in Dubai for a 50-year-old expat can cost about USD $363 a month. This private health insurance plan includes inpatient, outpatient, maternity, emergency evacuation, and repatriation coverage with an annual limit of up to USD $2,500,000 with no deductible.

This plan is offered by Salama April Dubai, a subgroup of April International, and can be viewed on Pacific Prime’s insurance quote generator.

You are encouraged to explore similar Dubai insurance quotes and adjust your age and insurance needs for a more accurate healthcare estimate.

In this free insurance quote generator provided by Pacific Prime, you can compare a number of insurance providers side by side and then see the exact coverage plan by clicking on the name of the insurer. You also have the ability to create an account and easily save quotes for reference later on.

Expats wanting to move to Dubai should learn more about the healthcare system in the UAE as well as how they can access healthcare in Dubai. As questions come up, reach out to Pacific Prime to get an insurance expert’s free advice.

Read here to learn what happens if you don’t have medical insurance in Dubai.

Average Salaries In Dubai

The average annual salary in Dubai after tax is USD $53,148, making the average monthly salary after tax in Dubai USD $4,429. There is no income tax in Dubai, which may mean expats are able to save and spend more of their net income than they could in other countries.

Cityscape of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates

In addition to having no income tax, expats are attracted to Dubai because of its low crime rate, luxurious lifestyle, warm climate, and phenomenal healthcare.

Below is a chart that displays the average Dubai salaries.

 

Average Salaries after Tax Dubai Average (USD)
Monthly Salary  $4,429
Annual Salary $53,148

Finding a Job in Dubai as an Expat

Expats trying to find a job in Dubai should use online job sites, networking connections, and even consider working remotely for their native country. Expats can also look for English-speaking jobs or jobs that predominantly require them to speak and work in their native language.

If you plan on working in Dubai when you move there, you are not alone. Many expats who live around the globe have found ways to continue employment in a country that isn’t their home country.

We have several blog posts addressing tips and tricks for finding a job in Dubai. Read our articles Finding a job in Dubai as an American, Finding a Job in Dubai as a Canadian, and Finding a Job in Dubai as a UK Citizen.

We also have a general post titled Finding a Job in Dubai as an Expat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dubai considered expensive?

Dubai is considered to be among the top 17% more expensive cities in the world. Dubai also ranks as the most expensive city in the United Arab Emirates. That being said, Dubai is considered more affordable than New York City, London, and Toronto.

Conclusion

Expats moving to Dubai may find the cost to live in Dubai either more expensive or more affordable than what they are currently paying. Regardless of averages, how much you spend wholly depends on your budget and lifestyle preferences. There is a range of both cheap and luxurious in Dubai.

Because having health insurance is required by law for all residents in Dubai, expats may want to learn where Dubai’s healthcare ranks in the world and whether or not they want to commit to living in Dubai and using their healthcare system (Hint: It’s pretty great!).

Healthcare needs are inevitable for anyone who chooses to move to Dubai, whether they are for well checks or emergency situations. This is the same in every country around the world, seeing as it’s a part of life.

Let Pacific Prime support you in finding the right insurance for your needs and budget by reaching out to us. We are primed and ready to help!

Lastly, if you’d like to learn if Dubai is a good place to live or not, read our blog post that talks all about it!

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