Pros and Cons of Living in Aberdeen: A Complete Guide

Known as the “Granite City” and located on the northeast coast of Scotland, Aberdeen is a bustling city with a rich history and vibrant culture. Its strategic location between two rivers, the Dee and the Don, has made it an important port for trade since ancient times. Today, it is home to over 228,000 residents and welcomes thousands of international students each year.

Best Areas to Live in Aberdeen

1. West End:
The West End of Aberdeen is considered one of the most desirable places to live in the city. It offers a mix of beautiful Victorian houses and modern apartments with easy access to amenities such as cafes, restaurants, and shops. The area also boasts several green spaces such as Duthie Park and Hazlehead Park where residents can enjoy outdoor activities.

2. Rosemount:
Located just north of the city center, Rosemount is another popular residential area among locals. This neighborhood has a strong sense of community with charming streets lined with independent shops and cafes. It is also within walking distance to Union Street Aberdeen’s main shopping street.

3. Cults:
For those looking for a more suburban lifestyle but still want to be close to the city center, Cults is an ideal choice. This affluent area offers large detached houses with spacious gardens while still being well-connected by public transport.

4. Old Aberdeen:
Known for its picturesque cobbled streets and historic buildings dating back to medieval times, Old Aberdeen exudes charm and character unlike any other place in the city. It is also home to the University of Aberdeen campus which makes it an attractive location for students.

5. Lower Deeside:
Lower Deeside encompasses areas such as Bieldside and Milltimber – both are highly sought-after locations due to their scenic location along the River Dee and proximity to countryside walks. The properties here range from traditional granite homes to modern apartments with river views.

In addition to these top areas, other neighborhoods worth considering include Ferryhill, Mannofield, and Peterculter. These areas offer a mix of affordable housing options and easy access to amenities and transport links.

Pros and Cons of Living in Aberdeen

Worst Areas to Live in Aberdeen

  • Foresterhill:

is often considered one of the least desirable areas to live in Aberdeen. This area is located near a major hospital and medical school, resulting in a high concentration of students and healthcare workers. While this may seem appealing at first glance, it has led to a lack of community spirit and noise pollution from ambulance sirens throughout the day and night. The cost of living here is also relatively high due to its proximity to the hospital.

  • Torry:

Located on the south side of River Dee, Torry was once an independent fishing village but has now become a densely populated residential area with high-rise buildings dominating the skyline. The crime rate in Torry is higher compared to other parts of Aberdeen, making it less safe for families with children or those who prefer peaceful surroundings.

  • Mastrick:

This is another area that does not have the best reputation among locals. It used to be an industrial hub but has now become run-down and neglected over time. The housing here tends to be older and more affordable, attracting lower-income residents who may struggle with crime rates and limited access to amenities.

  • Kincorth:

This is another area that falls under our list of worst places to live in Aberdeen. While it may have beautiful views overlooking River Dee, Kincorth suffers from similar issues as Mastrick outdated housing stock and lack of investment leading to social issues such as poverty and crime.

  • The suburb of Hilton:

Also makes it onto our list due to its remote location away from central Aberdeen and limited access to public transport links. It can feel isolated for those without their own transportation options.

  • Northfield:

Located on the outskirts of Aberdeen, Northfield may seem like an affordable option at first glance but lacks amenities such as supermarkets or entertainment venues. This can be inconvenient for students who have limited time between classes.

  • Tillydrone:

Known for its high crime rate and anti-social behavior problems, Tillydrone is not considered a safe or desirable area to live in Aberdeen. It’s recommended for students to avoid this area when searching for accommodation.

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Cost of Living in Aberdeen for International Students

Accommodation costs in Aberdeen are typically one of the biggest expenses for international students. On-campus accommodation at universities such as the University of Aberdeen or Robert Gordon University can range from £80-£150 per week depending on the type of room chosen. Private accommodations off-campus can be more expensive, with an average rent of £400-£600 per month for a studio or one-bedroom apartment. However, sharing a flat with other students can significantly reduce costs.

Food prices in Aberdeen are relatively affordable compared to other cities in the UK. A weekly grocery budget of around £20-£30 per person should be sufficient to cover basic necessities such as fruits, vegetables, and meat. Students looking to save money can take advantage of student discounts offered by many supermarkets and restaurants.

Transportation is another factor that contributes to the cost of living in Aberdeen. The city has an extensive public transportation system consisting of buses and trains that offer discounted rates for students. A monthly bus pass costs around £45-£50 while a train ticket from central Aberdeen to Edinburgh or Glasgow starts at around £12-£15.

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Entertainment and leisure activities also add up to the overall cost of living in Aberdeen for international students. While there are plenty of free activities such as visiting museums and parks, going out to restaurants or bars can quickly become costly if done frequently. Keeping track of your spending habits and budgeting accordingly is essential when it comes to leisure expenses.

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It’s worth noting that Scotland does not have tuition fees for EU/EEA citizens studying at Scottish universities; however, international students can expect to pay around £10,000-£25,000 per year for tuition fees depending on the course and university.

How Many People Live in Aberdeen


According to recent estimates, the population of Aberdeen stands at approximately 229,000 people. This number includes both permanent residents and students who are studying at one of the three universities in the city  University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University and North East Scotland College. The population has been steadily increasing over the years due to its growing popularity as a study destination for international students.

Age Distribution:

The average age in Aberdeen is 37 years old, making it one of the youngest cities in Scotland. This can be attributed to its large student population as well as its thriving job market which attracts young professionals from all over the world. The city also has a significant aging population with nearly 21% aged 65 or above.


The majority ethnic group living in Aberdeen is White Scottish (74%), followed by White British (13%). Other ethnicities represented include Asian (3%), Black (2%), Mixed Race (2%), and other ethnic groups (6%). The diversity within Aberdeen’s population makes it a welcoming and inclusive city for people from all cultural backgrounds.


Aberdeen has always had strong ties with Europe due to its location on the North Sea coast. It comes as no surprise that EU nationals make up around 10% of its total population. The top five nationalities among international students are Chinese, Indian, Nigerian, Pakistani and Saudi Arabian.

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Languages spoken:

While English is widely spoken throughout Aberdeen due to being an official language in Scotland alongside Gaelic Scottish, there are also a variety of other languages spoken within the city. These include Polish, Chinese, Arabic, Spanish and French among others.


Aberdeen has a fairly balanced gender distribution with slightly more females (52%) than males (48%). This is in line with the overall trend in Scotland where the female population slightly outweighs the male population.

Pros and Cons of Living in Aberdeen


1. Quality of Life

One of the main reasons why people choose to live in Aberdeen is because it offers a high quality of life. The city boasts excellent healthcare facilities, well-maintained public spaces, low crime rates, and good education systems – making it an ideal place for families to settle down.

2. Vibrant Cultural Scene

Aberdeen is home to several museums, theaters, art galleries, and music venues which offer a diverse range of cultural experiences. From traditional Scottish festivals such as the Highland Games to contemporary events like Nuart Aberdeen (a street art festival), there is always something interesting happening in the city.

3. Low Unemployment Rate

With its strong economy driven by industries such as oil and gas production, tourism and agriculture; Aberdeen has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Scotland at just 3%. This means that finding employment opportunities here may be easier compared to other cities.


1. Cost of Living

The cost of living in Aberdeen can be quite high compared to other cities in Scotland due to its popularity among tourists and expats. Accommodation costs can be particularly expensive with rent prices being significantly higher than other cities outside London.

2. Weather

Being situated on the coast means that Aberdeen experiences colder temperatures throughout the year compared to other cities in Scotland. The winters can be particularly harsh with strong winds and heavy snowfall, which may take some time for newcomers to get used to.

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3. Limited Transportation Options

Aberdeen has a relatively small city center, making it easy to navigate on foot. However, public transportation options such as buses and trains are limited, especially when compared to bigger cities like Edinburgh or Glasgow.

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