Mercer’s latest Cost of Living City Ranking of the world’s most expensive cities, ranked Doha 133 out of 227 cities. This ranking places Doha behind Dubai (31) and Abu Dhabi (61), but not far behind Muscat (119). So, what is the cost of living in Qatar? What is the monthly budget of a Qatar-based expat? Foyer Global Health provides you with an overview of monetary and personal budgetary items to consider if you are planning to live in the rich emirate.
The currency used in Qatar is the Qatari riyal (QAR). As of March 27, 2023, 1 QAR equals 0.27 USD. One Qatari riyal is divided into 100 dirhams.
2023 Cost of Living Index according to Numbeo Data Platform
The budget for your relocation to Qatar will depend on a number of factors, including your salary, lifestyle, family situation (single, with or without children). According to the Numbeo data platform, the cost of living for a family of four in Qatar is estimated at USD 3,103 per month without rent (QAR 11,295.0). Numbeo considers the cost of living in Qatar is 16,3% lower than in France, as of March, 27, 2023.
Accommodation in Doha is much more expensive than in Muscat, but more affordable than in Dubai. For expatriates who live in Qatar, housing is generally the most significant expense, alongside education. Housing costs depend on several factors, such as the size, location (capital/other cities; upscale residential area/popular area), and housing quality. For a one-bedroom flat in downtown Doha, the average monthly rent is around QAR 6,500 and for a three-bedroom flat, the average rent is QAR 12,000. About 80% of the entire population lives in Doha.
It is not uncommon for companies employing expatriates to pay the rent for their accommodation or offer them a housing allowance.
Expatriates wishing to buy property can only do so in certain areas such as The Pearl or West Bay Lagoon, but prices can reach up to QAR 25, 000 per square metre.
According to data compiled by Numbeo, the average cost of electricity, water, and gas for an 85 square metres apartment in Doha is approximately 393.68 QAR (USD 108.15).
Compared to other Gulf countries, particularly in Muscat, food is more expensive in Doha. Local food staples are relatively affordable, with prices ranging from 5.4 QAR for a loaf of bread to QAR 11 for a dozen eggs and QAR 7.56 for a bottle of milk (1 liter). A bottle of non-alcoholic beer costs about QAR 50.
Many food products are, however, imported, which explains why several food items are more expensive than in Europe or the USA. The average price of a meal in a cheap restaurant is around QAR 30 (USD 8.24) while a meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant can cost an average of QAR 200 (USD 55).
Public schools in Qatar are free for Qataris and residents from GCC countries, with classes taught in Arabic. Expatriates wishing to settle in the country for several years may consider sending their children to such schools to facilitate their integration into society. But many foreigners opt for private international schools, which can be expensive. For example, the Doha British School’s tuition fees range from QAR 22,696 (USD 6,235) to QAR 66,520 (USD 18,275) while the American School of Doha charges fees can escalate to QAR 74,816 (USD 20,554) per year. The Lycée Français Bonaparte charges an average annual fee of around QAR 35,000 (USD 9,615).
Both public and private health facilities in Qatar are modern, well-equipped, and efficient. Expatriates typically turn to private medical facilities, which are more expensive than public ones, and are thus required to take out private health insurance to cover part of the medical costs. The cost of healthcare services varies depending on the treatment, facility, and coverage by one’s insurance policy.
In Qatar, there is a wide range of clothing options, including a plethora of luxury boutiques at Lagoona Mall and Villagio Mall. Doha City Centre features large retail chains such as Zara, H&M and sports shops like Nike as well as traditional clothing shops in the Souq Waqif. A pair of Levi’s jeans costs around QAR 245 (USD 67) while a pair of Nike training shoes costs an average of QAR 343 (USD 94).
Telecommunications in Qatar (telephone and internet services) are generally more expensive than in Europe and the US. The cost obviously varies according to the provider, the type of connection, the amount of data, the connection speed, and the subscription package. For example, a monthly ADSL internet subscription costs on average around QAR 323 (USD 89). For a mobile phone package with unlimited international calls, the cost is around QAR 250 per month.
Leisure costs vary according to the type of activity and location. A cinema ticket costs an average of QAR 40, a tennis court rental for an hour costs around QAR 120, while a museum entry ticket costs an average of around USD 26 for non-GCC nationals.
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