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Best two cities to live and work in the Middle East revealed

Abu Dhabi and Dubai have been ranked top cities to live and work in the Middle East and North Africa region according to a new survey, titled ‘Top Cities in the Middle East and North Africa’, conducted by job site and online market research company YouGov.

The ranking of this regional survey was based on several factors including economic, environmental, standard of living, socio-cultural and entrepreneurship factors.

Overall, Dubai and Abu Dhabi were ranked the best in almost all aspects. As cities, they also scored extremely well on the happiness scale, with more than three-quarters of their residents indicating that they are happy in their city of residence.

Suhail Masri, Vice President of Employer Solutions at, said: “Our ‘Top Cities in the Middle East and North Africa’ survey highlights the most desirable cities for people to live and work in. This provides great insights, because the MENA region is very diverse and has many factors that affect the overall quality of living.”

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Socio-cultural factors

Socio-cultural factors include factors that relate to cultures, cities, societies and the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of people residing in these areas.

In the MENA region, the most important socio-cultural factors are low crime rate (81 per cent of surveyed), effective law enforcement (78 per cent of surveyed), and fair treatment to all nationalities (75 per cent). Dubai and Abu Dhabi were rated the best in these areas.

Although generally ranked less important, when respondents were asked about sports, culture and recreation factors, they claimed that the most important factors are availability of family-friendly activities (53 per cent), availability of natural areas/landscapes (53 per cent), availability of relaxation options (50 per cent), and availability of outdoor/sports activities (48 per cent). Yet again, Dubai and Abu Dhabi scored the highest in this category.

Environmental factors

Residents of MENA cities highly value environmental factors relating to cleanliness above all, with clean water (84 per cent), clean air (74 per) and clean streets (70 per cent) ranking as the most important factors.

Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Muscat took the top three places in terms of environmental factors. In fact, more than nine in 10 respondents said that the cleanliness of streets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi was either “good” or “excellent.”

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Entrepreneurship factors

Financial elements were the most important entrepreneurship factors for MENA respondents, including affordability of taxes and fees (62 per), market’s willingness to accept new ideas and innovations (59 per cent), and ease of finding finances to start a business (58 per cent). Dubai and Abu Dhabi once again received the highest scores in this aspect.

Economic factors

When respondents were asked about key economic elements, more than three quarters (77 per cent) of respondents said that the availability of jobs was the most important economic aspect. More than four in 10 residents in Dubai and Abu Dhabi said that the availability of jobs in their city was “good” or “excellent” and over a third said that it was “average”.

Health insurance and social security systems (82 per cent) were named as the most important labor rights for respondents in the MENA region. Over two thirds of respondents in Dubai and Abu Dhabi said their social security and health insurance was either “good” or “excellent.”

These categories were followed by end of service benefits (74 per cent), wage protection (72 per cent) and termination rights (69 per cent). Abu Dhabi and Dubai scored among the best cities in the region in terms of labour rights.

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Living standards

When it came to living standards, respondents from the MENA region claimed that the most important factors were safety, healthcare and education. The majority of respondents (84 per cent) said that a feeling of stability and security was a “very important” aspect.

This was followed by quality of education (82 per cent), availability of healthcare facilities (81 per cent) and quality of available healthcare facilities (81 per cent). Dubai and Abu Dhabi were once again ranked as the top cities in the region with the highest standards of living.