Moving to Aberdeen

Home to approximately 215,000 people, including 15,000 students, Aberdeen is the third largest city in Scotland after Glasgow and Edinburgh. Also known as the Granite City due to the many of buildings made from granite in Aberdeen, Aberdeen’s atmosphere provides you with the feeling that the city as a whole is one of familiarity and ease with many different types of people and cultures. With a great deal of variety in all aspects of life in Aberdeen including food, workplaces and leisure activities, the city can provide you with a fulfilled lifestyle.

Due to Aberdeen being on the coast, living in Aberdeen, like many cities can be hectic and crowded but not just with people. Aberdeen can be prone to very windy days. Winter in Aberdeen brings just 6 hours of daylight with temperatures dropping below 0°C in January. In summer the temperature rises back to 20°C with 18 hours of daylight during July, the warmest month in Aberdeen and the month that attracts the most tourists.

Aberdeen is well known for offering the best of both worlds for both energetic go-getters and people who prefer a quieter life by having both mountains and the coast. Whether you prefer mountain climbing or a relaxing stroll along the coast, both are easily accessible in Aberdeen. The city offers a family friendly environment perfect for starting a new life with brand new opportunities.

Job market

Aberdeen has the highest concentration of millionaires in the UK with the annual average salary being above $48,370. Aberdeen’s unemployment rate is only 2%. On the down side, Aberdeen has one of the most unequal wage structures in the UK. Described as the centre for world oil, well over 900 companies in Aberdeen are in the energy sector alone, employing approximately 40,000 people. Corporate giants in Aberdeen include Royal Dutch Shell, ABB, Manpower UK and the University of Aberdeen.

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Expats who choose to move to Aberdeen to work legally in Scotland must hold a permit. Permits must be from the British Embassy in their home country. Many expats who find work in Aberdeen take advantage of the career progression opportunities the city has to offer and stay on past their original given contracts. Being able to speak English is usually a requirement in many jobs in Aberdeen and being bilingual is very attractive to employers, especially those who work for international companies.

Living costs

Within a year, Aberdeen has risen from 94th most expensive city for expats to live in, in the world (out of 207) to 82nd. If you were to live in Glasgow(renting) it would cost approximately $3,312 per month whereas to have the same standard of life in Aberdeen, it would cost you around $4220. If you want to explore about the city or visit friends, a monthly bus pass will cost $81 but if you prefer driving, 1L of Gas is $1.45 and the normal tariff for 1km for a taxi is $2.02. Despite being on the coast, the estimated download speed for internet is 16MB.

Whilst shopping for groceries in Aberdeen, you can pick up 1L milk for $1.25, a loaf of white Bread for $1.45 and a 1.5L bottle of water for $1. If you don’t fancy cooking and want to treat yourself, find a restaurant where prices for a three course meal for 2 are around $75. The same meal in another Scottish City like Edinburgh would only cost you $50. Unwind for the evening with either domestic beer for $3.75 per 0.5L draught or with a 0.33L bottle of imported beer for $4.

Renting in the city centre is more expensive than renting somewhere outside it. Rent for a 1 bed apartment in the city is around $927 and for 3 bedrooms is $1753. Whereas rent for a 1 bed apartment outside the centre is only on average $837 and a 3 bedroom apartment being around $1,593. Healthcare for Aberdeen scores very highly with patients, who are 90% satisfied with the cost to them for medical fees.

Property information

House prices in Aberdeen are rising to up to 0.5% despite a 2.9% decrease across the rest of Scotland. 65% of the people who live in Aberdeen own their homes with or without a mortgage. The average apartment in the city centre is on average $4,163 and outside the city being $3007. Aberdeen’s house prices are 5 times less than the average for houses in London. There are more people living in apartments than flats in Aberdeen due to the amount of students that live in the city.


Family-friendly: If you are looking to move to a family friendly neighbourhood in Aberdeen, Rosemount just north of the city has very reasonable priced properties located near shopping facilities and parks. Braeside is also a great neighbourhood for families as it is located to good schools and a comprehensive bus service to the city.

UpmarketOld Aberdeen’s neighbourhood is more upmarket with older houses with lots of history and characters. Finding properties to rent in Old Aberdeen is difficult due to the popularity of the area.

Up and coming: An up and coming neighbourhood that might take your fancy would be Banchory which has many pubs, hotels and leisure activities such as ‘Go Ape’ at Crathes Castle and paintballing battle grounds.

Hip & trendy: The city centre of Aberdeen is one of the most hip and trendy neighbourhoods with pubs, clubs and cinemas right on your doorstep.

Cost of moving

These estimates are based on the costs for an average move for an average family to Glasgow. Additional costs of travelling with your belongings from Glasgow to Aberdeen are not included. Costs are based of the international container shipping costs for a 20 foot container.

Los Angeles$1,236 USD
Berlin$1,574 USD
Ottawa$1,574 USD
London$2,916 USD
Perth$4,880 USD
Dubai$8,089 USD

Schools and education

There are over 50 different nursery, primary and secondary schools all within Aberdeen plus special schools including EAL Service (English as an Additional Language). Primary school students don’t sit formal exams in Scotland so there’s no individual school performance information but you can find school reports at Ofsted’s website. Renowned secondary schools include Aberdeen Grammar and Bridge of Don Academy.

The 3 universities in Aberdeen include: University of Aberdeen which ranks 40 and specialises in engineering, arts and social sciences and The University of Aberdeen Dental School which ranks 4th in dentistry establishments. The International School of Aberdeen is located near the main city centre and offers the chance to study International Baccalaureate programmes.

Ranking against the world

Aberdeen offers an international city which has benefited from a steady increase in economic growth over the years, so it’s no wonder many expats are attracted to this Scottish city. Due to the city having a heavily invested in oil and gas industry, Aberdeen has vacancies for skilled work, perfect for expats. Living in Aberdeen can be costly compared to other UK cities such as Glasgow and London especially when it comes to everyday items.

Aberdeen is described by many as a very cosmopolitan city that welcomes people from all backgrounds including expats. It’s not surprising that you can find large communities of expats in Aberdeen when the city offers so many prosperous opportunities to anyone who can bring something to the city.

A day in the life

Move to a city that doesn’t have the usual ‘over crowded’ and ‘busy’ stigma attached to it. The city of Aberdeen has less than a quarter of a million people living in it which compared to other UK cities like London which has 8.63 million, is extremely low. That’s not the only thing that’s low, so is Aberdeen’s crime rate which scores especially ‘very low’ on problem violent crimes such as assault and armed robbery. Take pleasure in living in a city that is not only laid back but beautiful too with stunning beaches like St Cyrus Beach that can provide a feast for your eyes with it’s wild flowers and nature reserve.

After exploring the ‘Granite City’, Aberdeen can offer a booming music scene with up and coming pubs right in the centre of the city such as the Blue Lamp. We all know it’s not all play and no work but that’s not a problem in Aberdeen as it is an extremely well connected city if you choose to commute to your job. With Edinburgh just over 2 hours away by train, ferries to Shetland running regularly and good bus services, travel need be no problem for you.

Aberdeen can offer endless leisure activities and fun for your family with historic castles to explore and hundreds of walking trails to be followed and discovered. During weekdays, children can attend schools which are described as ‘good’ and ‘excellent’ whilst you make your mark in a city you can call home.