Cost of Living in Dubai vs India

Cost of Living in Dubai vs India

Nearly 90% of Dubai's population consists of expatriates from around the world, with a significant proportion hailing from India. Presently, the Indian community stands as the largest diaspora in the United Arab Emirates. The nation is host to approximately 3.5 million Indian residents, accounting for more than a third of its total population. Dubai accommodates individuals of varying economic backgrounds, yet all residents, irrespective of their financial status, must grapple with the reality that living in the emirate can be expensive—often considerably pricier than urban centres in India. Naturally, the elevated cost of living is offset by well-remunerated job opportunities and a generally high quality of life.


We will compare real estate costs in Dubai and India's capital, Delhi, a city renowned for its elevated standard of living within the nation. To facilitate this comparison, let's consider a one-bedroom apartment. In the central district of Dubai, such a residence typically carries an average price of 2,750,000 AED ($748,715). Conversely, for a similar apartment located in the heart of the Indian capital, the average expenditure would amount to 3,000,000 rupees ($36,579).

When discussing villas, a comparable price disparity emerges. A three-bedroom villa in Dubai commands an approximate cost of 4,000,000 AED ($1,089,040), whereas in Delhi, the mean price for such a villa amounts to approximately 7,000,000 rupees ($85,351), making it around 12 times less expensive.

Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the centre of Dubai, specifically in the esteemed Downtown area, averages around 150,000 AED ($40,839) annually. In contrast, leasing an apartment in the upscale Hauz Khas district of Delhi will incur an annual expense of 420,000 rupees ($5,124). Thus, rental costs in the emirate are on average eight times more.

Delhi, India. Photo: Laurentiu Morariu (Unsplash)

Not all regions within Dubai exhibit exorbitantly priced residential properties. To illustrate, buying or renting a residence in the Deira area is notably more affordable compared to renowned districts such as Downtown and Dubai Marina.


Being a desert nation, the UAE primarily relies on imported goods, which often encompass taxes in their pricing structure. Consequently, the cost of commodities, including food, in the Emirates is considerably higher than in India.

As an illustration, a kilogram of chicken breast in Dubai typically averages around 26 AED ($7.20), while a comparable item in Delhi costs approximately 245 rupees ($3). Similar disparities in pricing extend to other staple foods like potatoes, milk, eggs, and fruits. Across the board, these products tend to be at least one and a half times pricier in the Emirates.

A fast food lunch in Dubai carries an average price of 27.5 AED ($7.50), whereas in Delhi, it amounts to around 320 rupees ($3.90). In upscale restaurants, for which the emirate is renowned, a dinner for two will typically cost approximately three times higher than that of comparable restaurants in India.

Dubai, UAE. Photo: Ali Rizvi (Unsplash)


Renowned for its modern healthcare infrastructure, the UAE provides access to exceptionally skilled specialists; however, top-tier medical services come at a substantial price. For example, a consultation with a general practitioner amounts to approximately 200 AED ($54), while appointments with specialists are twice as costly, at around 400 AED ($109). Diagnostic tests and medications within the Emirates also come with high price tags.

In India, comparable services are significantly more affordable. Even in major cities like Delhi and Gurgaon, a consultation with a general practitioner averages around 150 rupees ($1.80), while the cost of seeing a specialist typically doesn't surpass 300 rupees ($3.60). Medications are notably cheaper as well, often priced at approximately one-sixth of the UAE's rates.


The UAE's educational system meets all international standards. Schools and universities in Dubai, as well as throughout the other emirates, provide cutting-edge educational curricula and often collaborate with foreign institutions. Moreover, numerous schools offer an extensive array of extracurricular activities encompassing sports and the arts. In contrast, India's educational system tends to be more conventional, with only a handful of universities boasting significant international affiliations.

The cost of education in India is expectedly lower than in the UAE. For example, one month of study in a private secondary school in Delhi will cost an average of 98,816 rupees ($1,206). In Dubai, it will cost about 24,682 AED ($6,720).


Petrol prices in Dubai are notably lower than in India, which can be attributed to the UAE's status as a prominent oil-producing nation. In the emirate, a litre of petrol costs 3.3 AED ($0.90), while in Delhi, filling up a vehicle incurs a higher expense at 103 rupees ($1.30) per litre. It's worth acknowledging that transportation costs in Dubai can be up to twice as expensive as well.

Furthermore, the expense for other forms of city transportation, including taxis and public transit, is higher in the UAE compared to India. A monthly ticket for transportation in Dubai costs around 265 AED ($72.10), whereas in Delhi, a comparable ticket is priced at 686 rupees ($8.38).

New Delhi, India. Photo: Laurentiu Morariu (Unsplash)

Prices for Goods and Services

We have compiled a comparative table with average prices for some goods and services in major cities of India and the UAE.

A dish in an inexpensive restaurant
183 rupees ($2.20)
25.5 AED ($7)
A bottle of water (0.33 ml.)
15 rupees ($0.20)
2 AED ($0.50)
A cup of cappuccino
115 rupees ($1.40)
17 AED ($4.50)
A loaf of bread
37 rupees ($0.50)
4.5 AED ($1.20)
1 litre of milk
53 rupees ($0.60)
6.6 AED ($1.80)
Utility bills (in a flat of 65 sq. m) per month
2140 rupees ($26.10)
438 AED ($119.20)
Renting a 1-bedroom flat in the city centre
10,331 rupees ($126.10)
1372 AED ($5040)
A European compact car
1,075,994 rupees ($13,136)
81,517 AED ($22,194)
Taxi ride to the city centre
Taxi ride to the city centre 220 rupees ($2.70)
35 AED ($9.50)
Petrol (1 litre)
103 rupees ($1.30)
3,3 AED ($0.90)
Jeans by a popular brand
2100 rupees ($25.50)
184 AED ($50)
Gym membership (one month)
1400 rupees ($17)
235 AED ($64)
A ticket to the theatre / cinema
240 rupees ($3)
41 AED ($11.20)
Home Internet plan (from 50 Mbps/ sec.)
690 rupees ($8.50)
345 AED ($94)

In a Nutshell

Dubai is several times more expensive than Delhi, but the standard of living there is also higher. The United Arab Emirates is an expensive country to live in, but along with high prices, Dubai offers many opportunities for earnings and career growth. It's this very aspect that draws immigrants from India and other Asian nations to make the Emirates their home.

Cover photo: wirestock (Freepik)

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