April 20, 2024
what is living in Aberdeen like pros and cons

Safe. Grey. Interesting. Awful. Peaceful. Small. Cheap. These are some of the replies I got when I asked people to describe living in Aberdeen in one word. So, really, what is Living in Aberdeen like? Before we get into it, let’s talk a bit about…

The (economic) history of Aberdeen

Aberdeen has a strong history of hard work and resilience. According to Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeen started out as 3 different royal towns- Old Aberdeen, New Aberdeen and Torry. These towns expanded and were eventually amalgamated to form the Aberdeen we know today.

This city has witnessed different economic phases- ranging from its historical prominence as a mediaeval trading hub to its modern role as a key player in the oil and gas industry.

In the 19th and 20th century, it was popular for fishing, shipbuilding, and granite quarrying. It earned the nickname the Granite City this period. If you walk around Aberdeen, you’d notice that most of its buildings and castles are made of granite.

In the 1950’s, Aberdeen’s sandy beaches were a major tourist attraction site. The slogan, the Silver City with the Golden Sands, was used to market Aberdeen to tourists this period and that moniker has stuck till now.

With the discovery of oil in the North Sea at a time when there was a pressing demand for energy globally, the 1970’s became a major transformational period for Aberdeen. This discovery made it the Oil Capital of Europe and redefined almost everything about the city. 

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Pros of living in Aberdeen

1. Living in Aberdeen saves cost

The cost of living in Aberdeen is fairly reasonable compared to other cities in Scotland like Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the rest of the UK. For example, you can find comfortable, fully-furnished 2 – 3 bedroom apartments for £700 – £900 in Aberdeen (Edinburgh, London and Brighton residents can’t relate😌). 

2. Safety

Aberdeen is a really safe city. You’d hardly hear of drugs misuse, stabbing, shooting, gang activities and related vices in Aberdeen.

3. Quality education is easily accessible

This is one of the major selling points of Aberdeen. In fact, some people relocate to Aberdeen to study or raise their children as there are several good private and public schools there.

4. Free healthcare

As a permanent resident or immigrant/ expat working in the healthcare sector, you can access most healthcare services for free.

5. Nice people

It’s easy to make friends and acquaintances in Aberdeen because the people are nice and have a good sense of humour. If you have lived/ visited several cities in the UK, you’d know that this is not a common virtue in many cities.

6. International stores

If you are an international resident, you could easily feel at home in Aberdeen. There are several stores where you can buy your native food items, clothes, etc.

7. Nice spaces

Tourism did not die in Aberdeen after the discovery of oil. People still visit Aberdeen for sightseeing and explore places such as the Trump International Golf links, Balmoral Castle, Royal Deeside, Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Aberdeen Art gallery, Duthie Park, the beach, etc. 

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Cons of Living in Aberdeen

  1. Limited job opportunities.

The job opportunities in Aberdeen are limited to mostly those in the healthcare and oil and gas industries. If you are not interested in working in either of these two fields, it could be difficult for you to get a job.

2. Horrible weather

Aberdeen is a coastal city so it can get windy, freezing, and rainy at the same time. I know no one comes to the UK expecting fine weather- except during summer. But the weather in Aberdeen can be depressing. You cannot plan with it even by checking the weather forecast. 

3. Constraints on international travels

You can hardly connect to the rest of the world when travelling from Aberdeen without going through England. This makes international travels from Aberdeen stressful.

4. Remote

Aberdeen is a city, but kinda lacks the buzz and vibe most cities have. You can easily feel like you are missing out on a lot by staying in Aberdeen. That’s why Aberdonians travel to neighbouring cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow for better shopping and recreational experience.

This is not to say that there aren’t any recreational activities you can engage in while in Aberdeen. There are. As I noted earlier, there are nice museums, galleries, parks and beaches you could visit. But Aberdeen is smaller than Edinburgh and offers less amusements.

5. It is grey and melancholic

Unlike the 19th century when its granite buildings made people refer to Aberdeen as a silver city, in recent times, its granite buildings make the city look grey and ancient. It makes it feel melancholic. This is a major reason most people say Aberdeen is grey.

Questions people also ask

What are the rough areas of Aberdeen?

I have been told that Tillydrone, Northfield, Torry, Seaton, are popular for the wrong reasons. So if you want to relocate to Aberdeen, it could be best to avoid those areas.

Is Aberdeen expensive to live in?

Living in Aberdeen is not expensive. But I’ve found that expensive is relative. For someone who lives in England where my monthly rent in a one-room apartment can pay for a 2-bed apartment in Aberdeen, I wouldn’t say living in Aberdeen is expensive. 

Why do people move to Aberdeen?

With an offshore petroleum industry and a growing renewable energy sector, Aberdeen attracts droves of international energy expats. Also given the advantages of living in Aberdeen such as the quality education, free healthcare, relatively low cost of living, safe environment, etc., Aberdeen has become a choice destination for a lot of people.

What is the crime rate in Aberdeen?

The crime rate in Aberdeen is low. According to Statista, out of 286,581 crimes reported in Scotland in the 2022/23 reporting year, 14,811 was from Aberdeen. This means Aberdeen’s crime rate is roughly 5% compared to other parts of Scotland.

What is the most common crime in Aberdeen?

Going by Aberdeen City Council’s report, the most common crime in Aberdeen are crimes of dishonesty. For example, shoplifting, forgery, counterfeiting, fraud, extortion. 

Where to live in Aberdeen Scotland

Rosemount, Ferryhill, Union Grove, Cults are some of the best places to live in Aberdeen because of the facilities in these areas, their proximity to the city centre and lower crime rates.

A few fun facts about Aberdeen

Etymologically, Aberdeen is a combination of two words- ‘Aber’ which means mouth, and ‘Don’ which is the name of the river that runs through the city. So it’s safe to say that Aberdeen means mouth of River Don. If you take a look at the map of Aberdeen, you’d see that it is geographically located where the River Don meets the North Sea.

People from Aberdeen are called Aberdonians.

♦ The University of Aberdeen is the second oldest university in Scotland, and it was founded in 1495.

♦ The second biggest granite building in the world is Marischal College and it serves as the headquarters of Aberdeen’s city council.

What other fun fact about Aberdeen would you add?

Do you live in Aberdeen? What would you say living in Aberdeen is like? I’d love to read from you in the comments section below.

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to this article by sharing what their experience living in Aberdeen has been.🤗

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