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Dubai or LA – Where is Better to Live?

Dubai vs Los Angeles - Where is Better to Live | The Vacation Builder

Both Dubai & Los Angeles are two of the most sought-after locations to start a new life. There’s no wonder why these two cities are becoming more popular for expats year on year as they offer a taste of the luxury lifestyle as well as year-round sunshine.

If it’s a life in the sunshine on the coast that you are chasing, then you will not be disappointed by either of these two.

However, making your choice between two different cities, two different countries and two places on opposite sides of the earth can be difficult. That’s why we are here to help you make your decision with this comparison.

We compared Dubai and LA for Location, Topography, Weather, Cost of Living, Salaries, Career Opportunities, Things to do, Crime Rates, Education, Population Density and Public Transport. Overall we couldn’t pull the two cities apart with 5 points to 5.

Read on below and decide on which factors are the most important to you to ultimately make your decision.


While shifting your base to an altogether new place, location is something that everyone should emphasize before that final call. So, we are starting this classic comparison post between Dubai and Los Angeles with the location segment.

If Dubai is the brightest star of the Middle East then Los Angeles has to be the beating heart of the western coastline of the USA. Both the cities enjoy fine location and loads of advantages related to it.

Let’s do a bit more research to know which place has got more for expats.

Dubai is one of the seven emirates that the United Arab Emirates is consist of. Located on the eastern coast along the Persian Gulf, this cosmopolitan city is blessed with round-the-year sunshine, however, sometimes the heat is too much to bear with!

Dubai features seamless connectivity to any other major global city with plenty of international flights. Accessing various parts of Europe, Africa and Asia is pretty quick from the city.

Los Angeles, on the other hand, is known for its pleasant weather throughout the year along with its fantastic location on the western coastal region in the USA. Unlike Dubai, the city of Los Angeles never bothers anyone with extreme weather conditions. Be it summer or winter, you can expect sunny days and breezy nights all year round.

Los Angeles sits on the extreme west side of the USA and no wonder why it is a handful job to travel to any other part of the country! There are enough railways and airlines to take you to every nook and corner of the USA from Los Angeles, but that will surely take considerable time.

If you are thinking of flying to and from Los Angeles, you will be almost spoilt with choices while booking flights. Accessing Canada, and South American countries are quick from this city but flying to Asia and Europe will be really really long!

The distance between Dubai and Los Angeles is around 13,380 kilometers. Flying from any of these cities to the other will force you to spend at least 16 hours in the air. In fact, the flight between these two cities is listed as one of the top 10 longest air journeys in the world.

Dubai or LA - Where is Better to Live? | Location | Flight Route Between Dubai and LA | The Vacation Builder

Fun Fact: You’re probably not aware of the fact that aircraft flying between these two cities takes the North Pole route instead of flying across the Atlantic Ocean because this is the shortest distance. It even has a fancy name, the Great Circle Route.

We personally feel that living in either of these two great cities comes with hordes of location-wise advantages paired with a few disadvantages too. Both Dubai and Los Angeles are wonderful locations to move in. However, Dubai allows a little easier access to European, Asian and African regions than LA.

Winner: Dubai


Now we are turning your attention to the topography of Dubai and LA. Plenty of sunshine, and fascinating coastal beaches are common factors that both these cities enjoy. But don’t let these factors confuse you to think that these two cities share similar landscape features.

Los Angeles is no doubt a vast and varied geographic entity. This piece of land includes a series of inland valleys, a picturesque long seacoast, an arc of higher mountains (sometimes capped with snow) and a coastal plain dispersed by low mountains.

Dubai or LA - Where is Better to Live? | Topography | Los Angeles landscape | The Vacation Builder
The Vast and Varied Landscapes of LA

The Sierra Nevada runs south to north of California along its eastern border while Tehachapi Mountains decorate the barren land of Southern California. Agriculturally productive Central Valley and wine-growing Nepa Valley add the right amount of glistening greenery to make this landscape more scenic.

Dubai’s topography is never that varied nor enchanting like Los Angeles. This city showcases an overall flat landscape with very little element of elevation. Dubai sits amidst an expansive desert and is bordered by rugged mountains. You can spot a few oasis and lakes here and there but that’s about it.

Dubai or LA - Where is Better to Live? | Topography | Dubai landscape | The Vacation Builder
The Open Flat Landscape of Dubai

The best part that both Dubai and LA enjoy is a string of stunning beaches. That’s why people who love the sun and sea flock to these cities whenever they are thinking of a perfect tropical beach destination.

Winner: Los Angeles

Dubai vs LA Weather

Settling in a foreign land introduces you to a different set of climatic conditions. It is not at all that easy, both physically and mentally, to acclimatize to the new weather factors. A large chunk of expats gives it a serious thought so that they don’t have to struggle too hard to deal with harsh weather conditions.

Spreading along the fabulous coastline of the Pacific Ocean, Los Angeles features more or less pleasant weather around the year. Summers are long, warm, clear and dry here whereas winters are cool, partly cloudy and short. It is quite similar to the Mediterranean climate.

July to September is the summer time in LA when the average daily temperature reaches nearly 22°C. August is the hottest month with a maximum temperature of 28°C. Winter is not at all harsh in Los Angeles. From December to February, the average temperature hovers around 13°C -14°C with the lowest mark of 8°C.

LOS ANGELESAverage High (°C)Average Low (°C)
LA Average Temperatures

If it’s about the weather in Dubai, then be prepared for immense heat. Summers are very long, arid, partly cloudy and immensely sweltering. The only good thing about summer days in the city is the cooling breezes coming directly from the sea which makes the evenings a little bit pleasant.

August is the hottest month of the year with an average temperature of 36°C while the coolest month January records an average temperature of 19°C which is the lowest average in a year. We would like to mention that August is also the best month in Dubai to swim in the sea when the seawater temperature is about 33°C.

DUBAIAverage High (°C)Average Low (°C)
Average Temperatures in Dubai

From the above mentioned tables, it’s obvious that Los Angeles offers more pleasant and soothing weather than Dubai.

Winner: Los Angeles

Dubai vs LA – Cost of Living

Dubai or LA - Where is Better to Live? | Cost of Living in Dubai and LA | The Vacation Builder

A wonderful life comes hand in hand when you choose any one between Dubai and Los Angeles to settle down. Both these places have earned huge reputations for providing world-class urban facilities. But remember, be it Dubai or LA – you must have means to match the local costs in both the cities.

As Dubai and Los Angeles epitomize the extravagant lifestyle, you must be well prepared to shell out hefty amounts to be at par with everyone else in the city. Although Dubai is one of the best-known luxury vacation destinations in the world, it might be surprising to many of us that cost of living is way cheaper here compared to Los Angeles.

You must invest approximately AED 17,000 every month to maintain a decent household in Dubai whereas maintaining a similar living standard will cost you around AED 24,000 (about USD 6,540) in Los Angeles.

Both these costs include rental charges. Consumer Prices in Los Angeles are almost 23.70% higher than in Dubai and if you include the rents then it goes up to 41.39%. Local Purchasing Power in LA is almost 23% higher than in Dubai.

Therefore, everything in Los Angeles will pinch your pocket a little harder than it will do in Dubai. Ranging from dining at a high-end restaurant to ordering regular groceries, Los Angeles flaunts costlier price tags than Dubai.

Also, don’t forget that your income in Dubai is exempted from income tax but it is not the same in Los Angeles. So, it’s quite obvious to save huge when you are working or living in Dubai compared to LA.

Note: Data shown in this segment is derived from Numbeo.com. You can also visit this page to compare costs of living, safety indexes, health care indexes, property prices and more between two different cities or countries.

Winner: Dubai

Salaries in Dubai vs Los Angeles

Better living conditions and better career opportunities are the two most sought-after reasons to settle down in a new city or even country. Both Dubai and Los Angeles are the places that grabbed the attention of expats for good reasons. 

Dubai or LA - Where is Better to Live? | Salaries in Dubai and Los Angeles | The Vacation Builder

Either in Dubai or in Los Angeles, job opportunities are pretty diversified. Both cities are blessed with job markets that are well paid and stable. What makes the difference is the nature of work. Los Angeles certainly nurtures more creative minds than what Dubai does. 

LA showcases one of the most fascinating dynamic economies in the world with a rapidly growing high-tech industry, world’s leading creative sector, a strong aerospace industry, the nation’s biggest manufacturing base and the country’s fastest-growing international trade segment.

Now let’s discuss the monetary part. Bagging a good job means getting a chance to flourish your skills as well as getting paid at par with your skill. Working conditions both in Dubai and Los Angeles are praised across the globe but certainly, Dubai lures more expats due to its tax-free incomes.

Check out what the most sought-after professions can offer you in Dubai and Los Angeles. We are listing down a table where you can compare the salaries from these two places side by side.

Note: We’ve deducted the average amount of tax from the Salaries in LA, to see how they accurately compare to Dubai.

ProfessionSalary in DubaiSalary in Los Angeles
Accountant156,000 AED198,218 AED
Civil Engineer212,000 AED263,851 AED
Electrical Engineer242,000 AED263,310 AED
Business Development Manager371,000 AED445,550 AED
Teacher174,000 AED216,075 AED
Administrative Assistant121,000 AED154,770 AED
Graphic Designer148,000 AED182,910 AED
Air Traffic Controller249,000 AED322,270 AED
Mechanic83,000 AED101,840 AED
HR Manager372,000 AED420,760 AED
Petroleum Engineer235,000 AED304,850 AED
Nurse184,800 AED228,135 AED
Doctor630,000 AED694,120 AED
Dentist578,400 AED637,170 AED
Hair Stylist99,840 AED125,960 AED
Occupational Therapist298,000 AED361,800 AED
Bar Manager157,200 AED182,910 AED
Real Estate Agent213,600 AED245,220 AED
Web Developer214,800 AED231,150 AED
Salaries in Dubai vs LA

The data shown in the table have been collected from Salaryexplorer.com which is a reliable source to figure out an expected salary range for any particular city or country. 

We would also like to remind you that salaries are highly variable and are determined by the candidate’s academic records, work experience and skill sets. 

Anyone can determine from the salary table that paycheque in Los Angeles feels good and looks alluring even after deducting the income tax part. So, if the salary package is something that motivates you the most, then Los Angeles is the right place to head.

Winner: Los Angeles

Career Opportunities

No one can really deny the urge to achieve a significant monetary gain motivates people strongly to move into a new city or a new country. If your aim is similar, then we will advise you to do extensive research to understand the job market dynamics and career opportunities available in your destination country.

We have already discussed that the pay scale is very impressive both in Dubai and Los Angeles. But what are the chances of landing a job there as an expat?

Tax-free incomes and a booming economy make Dubai (as well as UAE) one of the most favorite expat destinations in the world. Although 2020 saw unprecedented turbulence due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, UAE still managed to create approximately 250,000 jobs in the finance, retail, telecoms and technology sectors.

In spite of the worst recession, frequent lockdowns, disrupted businesses and restricted travel industry, Dubai’s economic growth didn’t falter much and recovered quickly with timely implemented crisis management strategies by the government.

You can read more here.

On the other hand, California state also experienced a huge blow in the job sector from the COVID-19 pandemic situation with a steep surge in the Unemployment Rate in 2020. But fortunately, it regained half of the lost jobs in 2021 and became the major force in pulling the US economy back on track.

In 2021, total job creation was more than 16.2 million in California. Leisure and hospitality businesses suffered the most in Los Angeles during COVID-19 pandemic but it bounced back the most during post-Covid reinforcement.

You can see the full report here

We are presenting below a small comparison between the Unemployment Rates in Dubai and Los Angeles over the last few years to show you, which city is recovering fast in the post-COVID era and offering more jobs for expats.

 Unemployment Rate / YearDubaiLos Angeles
2020 (COVID-19 Pandemic Year)5.0%11.9%
Dubai vs Los Angeles – Unemployment Rates

The Unemployment Rate is a Lameman’s Tool to have a rough idea about the chances of landing a job in a foreign land. However, this doesn’t tell the whole picture. Dubai’s unemployment rate may be less than Los Angeles but the latter offers more diversified, dynamic and creative job opportunities.

Winner: Los Angeles

Things To Do & See

If you are in love with travelling and exploring new things, then moving either to Dubai or to Los Angeles will be beneficial for you and your wandering soul! Both these cities are considered the two most engaging travel destinations in the world. With countless things to do and see, both Dubai and Los Angeles will spoil you with choices.

Best Things to Do and See in Dubai

Dubai is the land of iconic skyscrapers, world-class entertainment and some of the swankiest attractions on the globe. Let’s check out the best ones.

Dubai or LA - Where is Better to Live? | Things to Do & See | Best Things to Do and See in Dubai | Miracle Garden | The Vacation Builder

Best Things to Do and See in Los Angeles

When it’s about exploring Los Angeles, there is an exhaustive array of things to try out! Some classic attractions coupled with a taste of stardom await you there. Here are the best things to do in the City of Angeles.

Dubai or LA - Where is Better to Live? | Things to Do & See | Best Things to Do and See in Los Angeles | Hollywood Sign District | The Vacation Builder

Both places offer so much to see and do that we can’t pull them apart.

Winner: It’s a tie.

Crime Rates

It doesn’t matter how much you are being paid at your job or what facilities you are entitled to enjoy in a foreign country, it is useless to settle down in a foreign destination that doesn’t assure much safety to your life and property.

Don’t just turn blind eyes to the number of crimes in any particular place before moving there for a while or for the rest of your life.

Dubai or LA - Where is Better to Live? | Crime Rates | The Vacation Builder

If you take a look at the crime-related data collected against all the major cities including London, New York and Sydney, you will feel the chill in your spine! Crime Rates are very high in these cities in spite of most of them belonging to the most developed countries across the globe. Surprisingly, Los Angeles is not an exception!

Los Angeles shows a Crime Rate which is much higher than that of Dubai. This clearly Dubai is a better and of course safer place for people to work and live in long run. Here we put a table to decide how Dubai is beating many other global giants when it comes to the safety of its citizens as well as expats.

Name of the CityCrime IndexSafety Index
Los Angeles50.2049.80
New York47.1952.81
Rio de Janeiro77.6722.33
Dubai vs Other Cities for Crime & Safety Index

Do we need to say anything more? The data from this table is self-explanatory. Dubai wins the league for sure.

Note: The data shown in the table are collected from Numbeo.com. You can check out crime rates for thousands of cities and can also compare two places on a scale of crime rates.

Winner: Dubai

Education in Dubai or LA?

When you are planning to move into a new place, you have to be extra careful if your school-going kids are joining you.

Securing a quality education for your kids is one of the major responsibilities that you can’t dodge. Let’s see what Dubai and Los Angeles have got to help you in this segment.

Dubai is dotted with loads of excellent and updated educational institutes. The city caters a large chunk of students of foreign origins with a string of international schools. The education standard in Dubai is exceptionally good. It includes both public and private schooling.

If you are an expat in Dubai, we will suggest you get your kids admitted to an international public school. The cost of education varies vastly depending on what kind of student facilities they are offering.

The only drawback in Dubai’s education system is children of foreign origin are not eligible for free education in public schools.

The Educational institutes in Los Angeles are very much capable of offering world-class education but their public schooling system is plagued with underfunding, high drop-out rates and overcrowding. However, the situation has improved a lot in recent times and you can count on them.

Public schooling is free to all in Los Angeles but private schools may charge you a fortune if you are aiming for the best ones in the region.

We will give some extra points to public schools in Los Angeles because they offer good education in exchange for no or little money whereas Dubai’s public schools don’t allow expat children for free of cost.

Winner: Los Angeles

Population Density

No one likes to move to a new place which is too crowded to enjoy decent living conditions. So, it is wise to avoid cities that are overcrowded. Too many people living in a specific space will certainly affect civic standards, healthcare benefits, traffic on the roads and environmental balance.

Dubai or LA - Where is Better to Live? | Population Density | The Vacation Builder

Dubai’s population density is presently showing a satisfying figure with approximately 860 persons per square kilometre whereas the same for Los Angeles is 2,910 persons per square kilometre.

But don’t just fall for the figures. Although Los Angeles is densely packed with people, it still efficiently delivers best-in-class civic facilities for all.

Winner: Dubai

Public Transport

Effective and seamless public transportation is mandatory in order to maintain your daily activities on the go and right on time.

Dubai or LA - Where is Better to Live? | Public Transportation| Dubai Monorail | The Vacation Builder
Dubai Metro

Dubai is blessed with an upgraded and multi-faceted public transportation system. Getting around the city is simple, cheap and comfortable here. You can choose from public buses, monorail, Dubai metro, taxi, ferry service and water taxi to reach your destination. Highways in Dubai are extremely well-maintained to reduce your journey time.

Dubai or LA - Where is Better to Live? | Public Transportation| LA Metro Liner | The Vacation Builder
LA Metro Liner

Los Angeles is known for its fabulous public transport network which is one of the country’s best. This network is well supported with subways, buses, shuttles, light rails and recent metro line bus services. Travelling in Los Angeles without a car is not at all difficult. Daily commuters from the city mostly avail public transportation to reach their destinations.

One negative point about LA public transport is it is a bit on the costlier side compared to Dubai with the average price of a single ticket at $1.75 in comparison to Dubai’s $1.36. However, LA still offers very cheap transport compared to most other major cities around the world.

Winner: Dubai

Dubai or LA – Where is Better to Live?

This was really a close fight between Dubai and Los Angeles. Both the cities have got everything that an expat may long for but their vibes are very different. We are slightly tilted towards Dubai but don’t follow our words as your command.

There is more to consider than just data and facts while changing your base. It’s a very personal choice and we appreciate that.

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