Lagos vs Dubai

Lagos vs Dubai: Where Would You Rather Live and Work?

Lagos vs Dubai – where would you rather live and work? All things being equal, we want to live where we can make both ends meet. I’m talking about the quality of living, the time it takes to process a work permit, population and the environment, more and better jobs, city size, transportation, weather, and leisure.

The city of Lagos and it’s burgeoning downtown experience, and a mix of tropical climate with year-round rainfall. A city quick to showcase its nerve-wrecking busyness, class struggle, and attendant lavish nuances. Dubai is a smart city with a stunning skyline lined with skyscrapers, not short of antiquated souks, hot and dry desert weather, parks and shopping centres.

Lagos and Dubai – similarities

Lagos vs Dubai

Neither city owns a UNESCO World Heritage or pilgrimage site – of any global significance. You’ll have to let go the bike-sharing, whether in Dubai or Lagos. It makes them less eco-friendly, looking at the distance you get to cover on taxis and metro. Both have seaside beaches, particularly the Palm Jumeirah island, seating in an artificial lake.

Their laws do not block low-skilled immigrants from entering the city. You get to pay upfront a year’s rent, with money you hardly earn in Lagos. Expect to spend nearly half of your monthly earnings on rent alone in Dubai. Having to leverage housing benefit or allowances, however available, makes quite an enormous difference for newcomers in these cities. On the positive side, you’ll love their boisterous nightlife, markets, and shopping culture.

Which is better?

Lagos vs Dubai

The average worker in Dubai earns an annual net pay between US$2,900 and US$3,400, making this oasis of luxury an attractive option for low-wage workers from other parts of the world. An average Lagos job pays a monthly net income of NGN82,500, and you contend with an inflated market price more often than never.

An ordinary Emirati citizen has access to quality healthcare and hardly perceives half of the safety scourges (kidnapping, robbery, crime, killing) Lagosians have to put up with, daily. Moreover, living your best life in both cities earnestly demands that you’re well-paid (possibly above the market rate). That’s if you want housing with concessioned amenities, where you don’t have to sweat to cater to your family’s comforts.

Cost of living

Lagos vs Dubai

The cost of living in Lagos varies according to your location. The Atlantic ocean divides the city into two, Lagos Mainland or Island. A bit more like The Mainland, Deira is the budget-friendly part of Dubai, close to the airport but far from landmarks and beaches. But Dubai is just like living in Las Vegas, with an extravagant display of flashing lights, nightlife, high-end reservations, bars, and spas – what a typical Lagos Mainlander calls ‘Island life’.

Leases can be hard to seal in both cities. Even when you’re gainfully employed and confident of a better purchasing power in the United Arab Emirates than Nigeria, you will have to judiciously manage your finances with higher consumer cost, rent, utilities, and groceries price. According to Numbeo, you’ll need NGN1,900,133 (17,938.64AED) in Dubai to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with NGN960,000 in Lagos.

City size and population

Lagos is an overpopulated city, striving for ample infrastructures for a teaming group of 7,941 persons per km². To put it differently, Lagos is a big city with three times more people, yet, with a smaller area of just 1,171 km², which is four times lesser.

Dubai is not a city for constant trekking, with some 30km buried between the Old City and Marina. That’s some 20 USD and 2 hours journey by taxi. For this reason, it’s necessary to do some decent research if you were to leave Lagos, in order to become an expatriate in Dubai.

Lagos vs Dubai weather

Lagos vs Dubai

When you see the damages caused by seasonal rain in Lagos, and you’ll understand how Africa, generally, isn’t cut out for extreme weather. The temperature could peak to 34°C during the hottest month of February in Lagos, but there’s hardly been any cause for alarm.

In contrast to Lagos, it hardly rains between June and July in Dubai, when humid, hot, windy (with dust storms), and sunny conditions intensify. The temperature could climb above 40°C in the city. Though you may dislike the scorching weather, there’s something high-key about Dubai that keeps calling.


Lagos vs Dubai

Dubai is a trendy city with ultramodern facilities – various things to do and see like landmarks, nature, desert, coastline and whatnot. Lagos is the heart of the country’s emerging civilisation with rich cultural experiences, boutiques, beach resorts, showbiz, and glamour.

Nightlife in Lagos is easily accessible (you’ll fit in somewhere, or anywhere in the city). How about having to incur an undesired search cost for a bottle of imported beer, just because not all nightclubs and hotels are licensed to serve alcohol in Dubai? And they are always expensive, like paying NGN4,766.58 for a 0.33-litre bottle, or pay roughly NGN1200 just to move within 3km of Victoria Island without the traffic congestion?

Lagos and Dubai night lives are desirable, but with an exorbitant consumer cost and tax (like anytime you choose to sleep in a hotel) in the latter.

Jobs in Lagos vs Dubai

Lagos vs Dubai

The desert nation has a very high population of foreign ex-pats, working in insurance, banking and finance, construction, Sharia compliance, retail and services, and TelCo.

Whether you’re unskilled, semi-skilled or an expert in your chosen field, you can earn a profitable livelihood in Dubai. Some unskilled jobs, such as waiter, laundry attendant, a chauffeur can pay up to AED46,431 annually. A project engineer in Dubai makes as high as AED26,000 per month based on an average of 91 salary estimates. The best positions require little help from an internal person. Therefore, a solid networking skillset on the part of the job seeker stands in recruiters’ good stead. Where you couldn’t network efficiently, you may want to hire an agency.

The above factors aren’t very much different in Lagos, just that unskilled workers earn peanuts in Nigeria, and the government impose a tax on personal salaries. Though not what it used to be, many Dubai companies still offer modest salary packages, including housing allowances, flexible working hours, health insurance, and 30 days of yearly vacation.

If only companies in Lagos agree to remit housing allowances to their staff yearly rather than as a monthly payment, many mid-level workers would have found an easy way of managing the burden of coping upfront with expensive rents. For one thing, where these workers are afforded small increments in salaries, they are still insufficient.


Lagos vs Dubai

Desert safari on a 4WD or camel and return to enjoy a barbeque by the sheds as belly dancers charm the atmosphere seductively. From amusement parks, mesmerising views to hundreds of shops and restaurants at your doorstep, world-class hospitality, bars, nightclubs, and signature residences, Dubai is to leisure what Paris is to lifestyle.

What Lagos lacked in open (green) spaces, she makes up for with leisure malls, resorts, expansive beaches, festivals, and hotspots.

Whether you’ll love to live and work in Lagos or Dubai, it’s essential to, first, find an opportunity for an honest livelihood, considering most of the factors already discussed. To this end, Lagos can be your mini Dubai and Dubai can be your new-found paradise.


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  1. Good Day Dr. , Your article is good.
    However, you should double check facts more.For instance, Dubai is on the edge of the Eastern Arabia Peninsula and definitely doesn’t have a Mediterranean climate. Spelling and grammar mistakes were also noted though they did not distract from the message. Thank you.

  2. Oh well this is a very interesting article… An eye opener. I love the last part about making lagos your mini Dubai and Dubai a new found paradise.
    This article can help one’s decision for real.
    You’ve really done well in differentiating both cities in almost all the major areas. Thanks doctour this is really insightful.

    I was told sometimes late last year to go work in Dubai, I started to work towards it. I prayed, told myself I wouldn’t rush till they find me the job I really want. And the agent told me to pay a sum of 850k to help me get a job with accommodation and Visa.. so i and my sis decided by January 2020 I should go…. long story short i still find myself here in lagos because of an unexplainable delay in my passport processing, the money we invested that was meant to be paid December want released aswell and some stories and experiences of some people I heard… All this got me discouraged though.

  3. Thanks a lot I appreciate time and effort taken to put this together, information is power and knowledge is key.
    However if you don’t mind, please try make content concise as not everyone has time and patience to read long article online also make your website more mobile friendly it took time to load on my phone had reload thrice before finally commenting.

  4. I have lived and work in Lagos. I have also been to Dubai. Comparing Dubai to Lagos both working and lifestyle is way to wide. If i am opportuned to work in Dubai, my salary will sort me out.
    I vote for the good life

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