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Life in the US vs. Qatar

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Life in the US vs. Qatar

You are working for a global company, and your employer wants to send you to Qatar for a year or two. So, you have to make a decision, and we bet it’ll be difficult because it isn’t like moving to Europe. First, it’s an Arab country and, secondly, it has extremely hot weather. Also, you might be wondering about life in Qatar vs. the US.  

This guide compiled by SDC International Shipping covers some of the important aspects of living expenses in Qatar in comparison to the US.

Why Qatar is So Attractive 

If you are looking to earn more money outside the United States, you can go to one of the countries in Europe, but if you want to live in Qatar, it is also one of the best countries to pursue your career goals, especially if you like the sun over the year, Qatar is the place. 

Due to the country’s oil wealth, Qatar enjoys a high standard of living. Healthcare and education are free for all. Besides, the country has developed into a research hub, and many prominent American universities have campuses in the Doha suburbs. In 2022, Qatar will become the first Middle Eastern country to host the World Cup Soccer game. 

Qatar is also rich in natural gas, and on many fronts, you may find life in Qatar more attractive than in the USA. Its powerful economy is seen in its highest per capita income paired with developed destinations like Luxemburg, Switzerland, and Norway

You would need around 15,000QR ($4,120) in the US to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 16,000QR in Doha, including rent. In our calculations based on different sources, SDC Shipping uses the Cost of Living and Rent Index to compare the cost of living. This will result in net income (after income tax). 

Qatar vs. US Indices Differences 

  • Consumer prices in Qatar are 25% lower than in the US. 
  • Qatar’s rent prices are 12.4% lower for a 1-bedroom apartment in the downtown area and 21.2% less for the same size as a flat outside the city center. 
  • You’ll pay 54% less in restaurants in Qatar than in the US. The same for groceries prices, which are 27.8% lower than in the US. 
  • Clothing (2.5%) and transportation (44.1%) are cheaper in Qatar. 
  • Private school for children will cost you QR25,000-QR50,000 ($6,866-$13,732)
  • The average hourly pay for babysitters is QR25-QR35 ($6.87-$9.61)

As an American expat, you will enjoy the hospitality of the locals. They are welcoming and very friendly. Although Qatar cities are not big, life is pretty busy. But in general, there’s peace and quiet everywhere you go. In fact, Qatar is considered the safest place in the world because there are few criminals. There are guards in most places where expats live, and our clients share that it’s safe to walk along the streets even at night. 

Average Salaries and No Personal Income

An average salary in Qatar can be compared to European wages. However, your salary will largely depend on your background, skills, and even negotiation abilities. On the other hand, your net salary will be much higher than in the US due to the absence of income tax. Here are some mediate salaries by field: 

  • Engineering; QAR 18,812 ($5,166)
  • Customer Service: QAR 11,405 ($3,132)
  • Food/Hospitality: QAR 7,323 ($2,024)
  • Marketing: QAR 17,693 ($4,859)
  • Quality Control: QAR 14,764 ($4,055)

Now see the average salary by position level:

  • Event Manager: QAR 18,377-29,130 ($5,047-$8,000)
  • Banking Manager: QAR 29,468-47,867 ($8,093-1$13,146)
  • Construction Project Manager: QAR 750-QAR 56,839 ($205-$15,610)
  • Healthcare General Practitioner; QAR 34,000-100,00 ($9,338-$27,464)
  • CEO at Global Company: QAR 121,322-156,635 ($33,000-$42,937)

Pros of Living in Qatar

Before getting to the pros of living in Qatar, we want to touch upon its cons. For example, though transportation is less expensive than in the US, transiting in Qatar isn’t easy. We have shipped many expat cars to Qatar because, eventually, it is cheaper than hiring a driver to take you to work. Another disappointing thing is that entertainment expenses in Qatar are higher. According to, you will pay 53.45% more for entertainment and sports. That said, however, there are more pros than cons.

Make 49.9% More Money

As of 2021, the United States had a GDP per capita of $56,200, while in Qatar, the GDP per capita was $61,940. In general, foreign workers from English-speaking countries like the US or Australia are considered high-income expats whose salaries can reach QAR 80,000 ($21,000) per month.

Be 50% Less Likely to Be Unemployed

In the United States, before the pandemic, 3.5% of adults were unemployed as of 2019. In Qatar, that number was 0.12% as of the same period. 

Be 17.5% Less Likely To Be Obese 

In the United States, 40% of adults were obese as of 2021. In Qatar, that number was 33% of people as of 2021. 

Be 9% More Likely To Have Internet Access

In the United States, about 90.8% of the population had internet access as of 2021. In Qatar, 99% do as of 2020. 

Women Don’t Need a Face Cover

As a woman, you have to understand that Qatar is a man’s world. Women are restricted, but when it comes to expat American or Western women, they don’t need to cover their faces. Unlike local women, they can drive alone and enjoy independence. 

Free Emergency Care to Registered Residents

Healthcare in Qatar is affordable. A state Hamad Medical Corporation offers free emergency care to all legal expats. You will pay only QR25 for a doctor’s visit with private insurance. Another alternative is Hamad Health Card, which will give you access to the Primary Health Care Center without charges. On the flip side, as in any country, you are likely to be hit with a high medical bill.    

Qatar vs. US Bottom Line

Hopefully, you will be more decisive about moving to Qatar from the USA as you come to this point. But be also in mind that your expenses in Qatar will vary depending on which city you settle in, your lifestyle, and whether you are relocating alone or with a family. So, for example, living expenses in Doha will be different than in Al Rayyan or Al Wakrah. Or, if you are a party animal or a person who can’t imagine his life without socializing in bars with friends, expect to spend around QR 15,000 ($4,119) per month.

If you need help with relocation to or from Qatar, contact us at (877) 339-0267 or fill out a free quote. 

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