Dubai, Abu Dhabi are 'best cities' to live in: Mena survey

Two cities earn highest scores in terms of availability of jobs, living costs, safety, among many others

Dubai: Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the Arab world’s best cities to live in, a new study has found.

The home of the world’s tallest tower and the capital of the UAE have earned the highest scores from residents who reviewed key cities in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region in terms of economic, environmental, standard of living, socio-cultural and entrepreneurship factors.

The two cities are trailed by Muscat, Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia, Doha, Riyadh, Marrakech, Rabat, Jeddah and Kuwait City.

The 2016 Bayt.com “Top Cities in Mena” survey, which covered more than 1,400 respondents, found that Abu Dhabi and Dubai did well in terms of availability of jobs and cost of living, as they earned the highest scores in terms of economic factors.

On the happiness scale, both emirates impressed many of its residents, with more than three quarters of respondents from the two cities saying they are happy in their city of residence.

The two cities also emerged as winners in the labour rights category, which takes into account health insurance and social security systems, wage protection, end of service benefits and termination rights of residents.

About eight in ten (78 per cent) of residents in the region consider health insurance and social security as the most important components of labour rights. These are followed by wage protection (69 per cent), gratuity (68 per cent) and termination rights (68 per cent).

When it comes to the quality of standard of living, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have emerged as winners as well. Residents in the region consider the quality of safety, education and healthcare facilities as key indicators of a city’s living standard levels.

Other key considerations for choosing the best cities to live in are the level of crime rate, effective law enforcement, availability of parks, outdoor/sports activities, relaxation options and family-friendly activities. Residents in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi seemed pleased with these aspects, as the two emirates performed best in the socio-cultural category.

Residents in the region highly value the cleanliness of their surroundings, water supply and air. Among the cities surveyed, Dubai and Abu Dhabi appeared to have met the expectations of their residents, as they earned the highest scores in the environmental category.

When looking for places to settle down, people also consider how easy or difficult it is to set up a business, or whether or not taxes and fees are reasonable. Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi again beat their competitors in these areas, scoring highest in the entrepreneurship category.

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