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Is it better to live in India or Dubai?

India and Dubai are two popular destinations for expats looking for job opportunities, business prospects, and a better quality of life. Both have their own unique advantages and challenges when it comes to livability. This article provides an in-depth comparison of living in India vs Dubai across key factors like cost of living, infrastructure, healthcare, education, taxes, safety, culture and lifestyle to help you decide which is a better fit for you.

Is it better to live in India or Dubai?

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Dubai is significantly higher compared to most Indian cities. Housing, utilities, groceries, transportation – everything is at least 30-40% more expensive in Dubai. Rent for a 2BHK apartment in a central location could cost AED 80,000-1,00,000 yearly in Dubai compared to INR 3-5 lakhs yearly for a similar home in India.

While incomes tend to be higher in Dubai, much of your salary gets spent on just meeting basic needs. You can hope to save more of your earnings while living in India. Healthcare and education also cost more in the UAE.

Overall, India ranks lower in terms of cost of living index globally and is more affordable for average income earners.


Dubai has invested heavily in developing state-of-the-art infrastructure catering to both businesses and residents. Ultra modern road networks, metro rail systems, airports and seaports connect every part of the emirate seamlessly. The city also offers high-speed internet, uninterrupted electricity supply and high-quality civic amenities.

India is still playing catch up when it comes to infrastructure. While facilities have improved over the years, problems like congested roads, power outages, water scarcity still affect some parts. Disparities exist between urban and rural areas too.

If ease of living is your priority, Dubai’s exceptional infrastructure gives it the edge.


Dubai provides world-class healthcare facilities on par with Western standards. Private hospitals and clinics staffed by accredited doctors provide comprehensive healthcare coverage using cutting-edge medical technology. As an expat, you have access to top-notch medical services. Health insurance plans are also mandatory.

India offers affordable healthcare of decent quality in urban pockets, but lacks in Tier 2 and rural areas. There is a shortage of medical facilities and personnel relative to population size. Health insurance penetration is also low. Quality comes at a premium price.

Dubai is ahead for assurance of better medical services critical for well-being.


Dubai has established itself as a regional education hub with options for reputed schools teaching International or American curriculums. Students can expect a high standard of teaching and extracurricular participation. Fees tend to be on the higher side.

India too has premium international schools, but majority opt for Indian curriculum schools or government schools. Large classroom sizes, outdated teaching methods, focus on rote learning are issues. But cost of education is significantly lower.

If cost is no constraint, Dubai schools provide better resources. India is more pocket-friendly for average earners.


A huge advantage Dubai offers is zero tax on income and earnings. No need to worry about complex tax codes or investing time in documentation. It enables salaried individuals as well self-employed businessmen to save more.

India has a well-defined tax structure – 30% for incomes above 10 lakhs per annum. Additional cess/surcharge apply taking it to 40%. High indirect taxes on goods and services also impact savings. Filing returns yearly is compulsory.

Dubai’s tax free environment gives a huge boost to disposable income and retail spending power.


Very low crime rates make Dubai an extremely secure place to live in. Strict policing ensures women, children and elderly can move freely without worrying about law and order issues. Budding expat communities also lend a neighborly vibe.

While India has improved security situation recently and violent crime rates are still comparatively low globally, safety continues to remain a pain point especially for women. Petty crimes like chain snatching and mobile theft are also rife in cities. Extra vigilance is required.

Dubai gains points on the safety parameter for its peaceful and secure environment.

Culture and Lifestyle

At the crossroads between East and West, Dubai offers an eclectic mix of cuisines, architecture and heritage experiences representative of Arab and expat influences. Residents can soak in Islamic culture while still having access to Western comforts. No restrictions apply on dressing, nightlife, entertainment.

India’s diversity reflects in its languages, festivals, food and local customs. But adjusting and assimilating into Indian society as an outsider has its own challenges especially in smaller cities. Societal attitudes tend to remain conservative. Best suited for those willing to experience this richness in depth.

Dubai offers a multicultural experience on the surface. India for a true cultural immersion.

As a quick key takeaway:

  • Dubai better for infrastructure, healthcare, safety, savings
  • India better for budget friendly living, cultural richness
  • Dubai suitable if adjusting easily to new environments is priority
  • India suitable if you want deeper cultural integration


Dubai with its tax free environment, lower crime rate, modern amenities scores higher on standard of living and quality of life. The glitter and glamour come with a significant price tag but no dearth of opportunities for those willing to work hard. However India offers the unique chance to immerse yourself fully into a kaleidoscopic society filled with history and tradition very different from Western life. Stay nimble to navigate the challenges and India can be an intensely rewarding adventure.

Analyze your own priorities regarding career prospects, family needs, lifestyle preferences and financial situation before deciding between life in India or Dubai to make the best choice.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1. Which country has better job opportunities?
A1. Both India and Dubai offer abundant job opportunities across key sectors like IT, finance, healthcare, construction, tourism etc. Dubai has more global exposure being an international hub while India provides talent at competitive costs enabling MNC investments.

Q2. Is owning a house easy in Dubai or India?
A2. Property rates in Dubai are exorbitant, but mortgages easily available to expats unlike India. Rental yields are also better in Dubai providing good investment opportunity. In India property purchases have complex legal procedures and disputes common.

Q3. Can I easily bring my family/parents to UAE?
A3. Dubai allows residence visas for family, parents, in-laws also subject to your profession and meeting salary bracket requirements of 4000+ Dirham per dependent. Far easier than India.

Q4. Which country offers permanent residence or citizenship faster?
A4. India restricts dual citizenship while Dubai offers a 5-year residency post which you can apply for a citizenship that allows dual passports. The eligibility criteria and documentation requirements are detailed and stringent in both cases.

Q5. Do expats adjust easily in India?
A5. Challenges exist due to cultural differences, language issues in India especially spouses facing identity crisis. Dubai’s high expat population helps new residents integrate faster with help more easily available.

Q6. How easy is it to start a business in Dubai vs India?
A6. Dubai attracts entrepreneurs through investor friendly schemes like 100% ownership, tax exemptions, free zones facilitating business incorporation. India has complex regulations but lower costs and large domestic demand supporting opportunities.

Q7. Which country ranks higher on environment sustainability?
A7. India still faces issues like overpopulation burden, pollution, waste management while Dubai inducts eco-friendly practices into urban planning but carbon footprint per capita remains higher than global average due to affluence.

Q8. How LGBTQ+ friendly are the two countries?
A8. India stands more progressive in terms of legal rights while socially marginalization exists still in both. Dubai criminalized homosexuality but largely adopts a don’t ask, don’t tell approach towards expats.

Q9. What is taxation like in Dubai?
A9. Dubai has 0% personal and corporate income tax without any requirement of filing returns. Only VAT levied on select goods which is a small price to pay for tax free salaries.

Q10. Is car ownership common in Dubai and India?
A10. Majority of families own at least one car in Dubai given limited public transport options previously. India has better penetrated bus/metro rails leading to lower car ownership as traffic congestion has increased.

Q11. Which country offers better work-life balance?
A11. Long working hours culture more prevalent in Dubai while India has mandated leaves, maximum 8-9 hour work days on paper though private sector pressures exist. Dubai focuses more on productivity, India tries to regulate work policies.

Q12. How easy is to find household help in India vs Dubai?
A12. India has established domestic help ecosystem across cooking, cleaning, driving etc available IN abundance. Stringent regulations in Dubai make hiring helpers challenging and expensive especially for middler class.

Q13. Can I easily travel around India or Dubai?
A13. Dubai’s connectivity via frequent flights to global destinations, well connected public transport and driving convenience makes both international and intra-emirate travel easier. Travel in India can be inconvenient with poor road/rail networks spanning remote areas.

Q14. Which country has better hospitals?
A14. Dubai spends generously to attract acclaimed specialist doctors and latest medical innovations providing reliable healthcare services surpassing EU standards. Patchy quality in India with main center’s providing good private healthcare options.

Q15. How friendly are both countries towards women?
A15. India has more cases of crimes against women due to various socio-economic reasons. Dubai provides relatively safer environment with adequate security, women empowerment initiatives for expats.

Q16. Do both countries offer quality higher education options?
A16. Dubai hosts satellite campuses of renowned global universities focused on niche subject areas. India has a wider spectrum of universities offering globally recognized degrees both in technical and liberal arts streams.

Q17. How easy is to find like minded groups and friends?
A17. Significant Indian diasporas exist in most global cities making settling easier. Dubai too has diverse expat clubs, communities to bond over common interests and nationalities easily.

Q18. Which country offers higher income potential?
A18. Higher disposable income and personal savings possible in tax free Dubai though high costs. Professionals earn well in India but lower savings. Depends also on your field, experience level.

Q19. Do both countries have censorship?
A19. Media freedom and dissent better upheld legally in India though self-censorship issues. Tighter control in Dubai with restrictions on insensitive content towards religion or other groups.

Q20. Is obesity rate higher in Dubai or India?
A20. Affluent lifestyles coupled with hot climate leads to high obesity rates in Dubai. India still battles poverty, malnutrition issues in parts though rising obesity in urban pockets due to sedentary habits.

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