Lagos vs Port Harcourt: Which is Better to Live in (2024)

Which city is better for living – Lagos state or Port Harcourt? This question comes to mind for many people moving to these two major cities in Nigeria.

Lagos is the largest city with many job opportunities. But Port Harcourt is more peaceful with lower costs. For average families, quality of life differs in these two cities.

port harcourt vs lagos which is better to live

Should you choose fast progress in career and business in Lagos? Or comfortable living and balance between work and life in Port Harcourt?

Here we compare important things like costs, jobs, healthcare, education, safety and entertainment. Read this to understand the advantages and problems for staying in Lagos or Port Harcourt.


This article will give a comparison of the two cities across various factors:


The standards of living differ quite a bit between Lagos and Port Harcourt.

Lagos, being the more populous and economically vibrant city, has a very high cost of living. Rent, food, transportation, and basic necessities are much more expensive in Lagos. Middle class families often struggle with balancing household expenses in Lagos. On the positive side, those with high paying jobs can afford a more luxurious lifestyle in Lagos.

In contrast, the cost of living in Port Harcourt is significantly lower. Housing and food is cheaper and wages go a longer way for basic comforts and necessities. Infrastructure is still developing, but one can certainly live more affordably.

For the average Nigerian family or young professional starting out, Port Harcourt potentially allows savings and investments that are very difficult in Lagos.

Verdict: Port Harcourt


Lagos has a significantly higher overall cost of living compared to Port Harcourt. Accommodation, food, transportation are considerably more expensive in Lagos.

Rental prices in Lagos can be up to 3 times higher than comparable properties in Port Harcourt.

Everyday groceries and items also cost more in Lagos due to higher demand and transportation costs. Unless money is not an object, Port Harcourt provides a more affordable standard of living.

Verdict: Port Harcourt


Traffic congestion is a huge problem in Lagos, with commuters spending several hours stuck on roads everyday. The public transportation system is also very chaotic and unreliable in Lagos.

Port Harcourt has fewer vehicles on the road and commuting around the city is relatively easier. Commute times are more predictable in Port Harcourt.

Verdict: Port Harcourt


As Nigeria’s largest city and business hub, Lagos offers far more extensive career and business opportunities.

Every major company in Nigeria has a base in Lagos and the city accounts for over 60% of industrial and commercial activity in the country.

Port Harcourt’s economy is also thriving but focused more on the oil & gas industry.

Verdict: Lagos


Both Lagos and Port Harcourt have reputable hospitals and educational institutions, but the former offers more options and better quality healthcare and schooling.

Specialized healthcare services are more likely to be found in Lagos. The competition and standards among schools and universities is also higher in Lagos.

Verdict: Lagos


Sadly, neither Lagos nor Port Harcourt can claim to be very safe cities, but Lagos has significantly higher crime rates. Violent crimes like armed robbery, kidnappings and extortion are major issues confronting residents of Lagos.

Port Harcourt also faces security threats, but petty and violent crimes occur more frequently in Lagos.

Verdict: Port Harcourt


As you would expect of Nigeria’s largest and once capital city, Lagos has better developed infrastructure. Power and water supply, road conditions are more reliable in Lagos compared to Port Harcourt where infrastructure outside the major areas is still lacking. Internet connectivity and access to amenities is also better in Lagos.

Verdict: Lagos


When it comes to experiencing Nigeria’s arts, culture, food and nightlife scene – no city comes close to Lagos. From concerts and shows to art galleries, restaurants and clubs – Lagos offers far more depth and diversity in entertainment.

Port Harcourt has its charms too but has fewer options for dining out or enjoying the art and culture scene.

Verdict: Lagos


Lagos struggles with high levels of pollution, coastal erosion, flooding and other environmental issues stemming from congestion and overpopulation.

Port Harcourt has the advantage of not being overly crowded, and faces less problems like waste disposal, air/water pollution compared to Lagos and its infrastructure strains.

Verdict: Port Harcourt


The fast pace and high cost of living takes a toll on quality of life in Lagos. Time spent commuting through bad traffic leaves little room for pursuing hobbies, spending time with family etc.

Life in Port Harcourt moves at a relatively more relaxed pace and lower costs allow more time for enjoying leisure activities.

Verdict: Port Harcour


It can be difficult to choose between Lagos and Port Harcourt as the best place to live, but it depends entirely on personal lifestyle preferences and career ambitions. Those looking to start new business or find jobs will continue finding Lagos as the land of opportunities.  However, for raising a family, achieving better work-life balance or living comfortably on a budget, Port Harcourt makes more sense. Healthcare and school options are also more affordable here. Ultimately, it’s about lifestyle priorities – some may prefer settling in peaceful Port Harcourt and commuting to Lagos occasionally for work. Others willing to deal with higher expenses can pursue fast-paced careers in Lagos.

Understanding all of these can help you make the right decision.


So should you live in Lagos or Port Harcourt? The answer depends on your needs.

Lagos has more jobs, business chances, entertainment and better hospitals, schools. But very high costs and stress level.

In Port Harcourt you can live with less money and traffic. Safer for family life too. Travel to Lagos for few days a month for work meetings if needed.

Young people can stay in Lagos for some years to get experience and contacts before moving. There are good and bad things about both cities. You must decide based on what is most important for you – fast progress in career or relaxed lifestyle.

Think carefully before deciding to shift your family.

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Oluchi Chukwu

Oluchi is a seasoned Information blogger, content developer and the editor of Nigerian Queries. She is a tech enthusiast who loves reading, writing and research

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