Survey ranks Dubai as the best city for expats in the MENA region

dubai-skylineMercer’s 2017 Quality of Living Survey has ranked Dubai as the best city for expats in Middle East and Africa region.

Dubai came at the 74th place in the global ranking, making it the region’s top city for the fifth year in a row.

Vienna occupies first place for overall quality of living for the 8th year running, with the rest of the top-ten list mostly filled by European cities: Zurich is in second place, with Munich (4), Dusseldorf (6), Frankfurt (7), Geneva (8), Copenhagen (9), and Basel, a newcomer to the list, in 10th place. The only non-European cities in the top ten are Auckland (3) and Vancouver (5).


The highest ranking cities in Asia and Latin America are Singapore (25) and Montevideo (79).

Dubai (74) continues to rank highest for quality of living across Africa and the Middle East, rising one position in this year’s survey. It is followed closely by the neighbouring Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which has climbed three spots since last year’s survey to claim 79th place.

Saudi cities Riyadh and Jeddah find themselves further down the ranking at 166th  and 169th respectively, whereas Sana’a (229) in Yemen, Bangui (230) in the Central African Republic, and Baghdad (231) in Iraq are the region’s  and world’s three lowest-ranked cities for quality of living.


City infrastructure, highlighted separately in this year’s Quality of Living Survey, plays an important role when multinationals decide where to establish operations abroad. When sending expatriates to new locations, important considerations include easy access to transportation and reliable electricity.

Dubai also ranked highest in the MENA region in terms of infrastructure, claiming 51st place in the survey’s global ranking and reaffirming the city’s position as a leading regional business hub.


While Dubai ranked highest, only a few other cities in the region made the top 100. These were Abu Dhabi (67), Port Louis (94), Muscat (97) and Doha (96), the upcoming host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Cities in African and Middle Eastern countries dominate the bottom half of the list for infrastructure, with Brazzaville (228) in the Republic of the Congo, Sana’a (229), and Baghdad (230) ranking the lowest.

Mercer’s authoritative Quality of Living Survey is compiled by the company to assist multinational companies in compensating employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.

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