Saudi Arabia vs UAE: What to choose for living

29 Feb 2024

Two neighboring Muslim countries – Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – in the best traditions of Eastern culture, constantly compete with each other. First, they build the tallest building in the world, then erect the tallest flagpole, and after that, the largest airport. But what about the standard of living – which country is better to choose for relocation?

Social norms

In Saudi Arabia, society is more conservative. The kingdom adheres to a strict interpretation of Islamic law, which influences daily life and social norms. As a result, aspects such as dress code and gender segregation become noticeable.

In the Emirates, although there are restrictions on hugs and kisses in public places, it still feels much freer here. Women are not required to constantly wear an abaya, and you won't be whipped a hundred times for drinking alcohol.

What about prices?

GDP per capita in the UAE is $44,315. In Saudi Arabia, it's $23,185. The difference is clear. The cost of a basic set of products in Saudi Arabia is on average 19% lower. So, for the same $1000 in the UAE, you'll buy fewer products.

According to Numbeo, the minimum wage in Saudi Arabia is $800. The average is $2,106. In the UAE, the average salary will be higher – $3,408.

Crime rate

Let's look at the crime index and again refer to Numbeo:

• 26.68 – Saudi Arabia;

• 15.45 – UAE.

So, living in the Emirates is safer. Moreover, the capital Abu Dhabi has been recognized as the safest city in the world. And this happened 8 times in a row.