The view of Dubai from Nad Al Sheeba during the sunrise. Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai ranks highest in the Middle East in terms of quality of life, followed by Abu Dhabi, a new survey suggests.

According to HR consultancy Mercer’s annual report, the two emirates are top in City Infrastructure as well among Middle Eastern cities.

However, they don’t fare so well in overall global rankings.

Out of the 221 cities rated worldwide, Dubai ranks 73 for Quality of Living and 34 for City Infrastructure. Abu Dhabi is rated 78 and 72 respectively.

Still, Dubai beats Geneva (47), Miami (48), San Francisco (55), Barcelona (57), Rome (72) and Kuala Lampur (77).

Meanwhile, Vienna retained its top spot in Quality of Life and Baghdad has again come in last.

In infrastructure, Singapore is the best city while Port-au-Prince is the worst, the study notes.

Recent violence in the Middle East has seen rankings plunge, with Damascus tumbling 18 points to 197; Manama sliding 13 places to 126; and Cairo falling six steps to 141.

The ratings are compared using New York as a base city, and weigh factors like political and social stability, education, public services and housing, among others. Infrastructure, and its affect on life quality, was scaled for the first time.

The results are intended to help governments understand what factors affect residents’ quality of living, and designed for multinational companies to “compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments,” Mercer said in a statement yesterday

Zaid Kamhawi, Mercer’s IPS Business Leader in the Middle East, said: “It’s no surprise that there’s a near perfect correlation between a city’s infrastructure ranking and the overall quality of living ranking.

“The constant pace of progress and development found in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is in no doubt major contributing factors to their position as top-ranking cities in the region.”

Ali Rashid, a 33-year-old Emirati engineer in Sharjah, said he was not surprised at the findings. “The UAE is a second home to millions of expats, they like to come here and enjoy its opportunities and lifestyle. The infrastructure here is also world-class, so that makes life easier for all of us. I don’t think any other city in the region can compare to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, they’re really doing a lot to keep ahead of competition for investment and caring for residents.”