UAE named most desirable country to live in for 12th consecutive year

Arab Youth Survey also named the Emirates as country most young Arabs would like to see their own countries emulate

DUBAI, UAE. April 15, 2014 - Emirati university student Sara Al Boom is photographed beside Dubai Mall Fountain in Dubai, April 15, 2014. (Photos by: Sarah Dea/The National, Story by: Ramola Talwar, News)
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The UAE has once again been named as the country that most young Arabs would like to live in.

The results, compiled by the Arab Youth Survey, are based on interviews with 3,600 people, aged between 18 and 24. Participants spanned 18 countries.

The UAE's main attributes were its safety and security, according to 41 per cent, a growing economy (28 per cent), effective leadership (24 per cent), clean environment (22 per cent), and the ease of starting a business (20 per cent).

"Starting my career as a civil engineer in Lebanon has been very challenging, it's difficult to accept the idea that my country has no opportunities for me," said Tarek Mahmoud, 22, civil engineer.

"I have no other option but to seek a job abroad, and the UAE is very welcoming of fresh graduates and young talents.

"I'd like to move and start a life there if I get the chance, it's the place to be today."

The sentiment is echoed by young Arabs who have already made the Emirates their home.

“I moved to the UAE almost two years ago and it was the best decision I made," said Tala Dia, 25, a senior auditor also from Lebanon.

"Of course I feel homesick sometimes, but Abu Dhabi is also home. Most of my friends in Lebanon are looking for an opportunity to move here.

"It’s safe, secure and stable - everything we’ve been lacking throughout the crisis in Beirut.”

The UAE was also named as the country that Arab youth would most like their own country to be like.

The UAE was also praised as a good place to raise a family (19 per cent), somewhere with a high quality of schools (16 per cent), a location with strong cultural identity and heritage (16 per cent) as well as offering generous salaries (13 per cent)

“The UAE continues to be a lodestar for Arab youth seeking jobs, opportunity and the freedom to realise their full potential,” said Sunil John, founder of Asda'a BCW, the PR agency that conducts the annual survey.

“The uncertainty elsewhere in the global economy only serves to underline the nation’s winning attributes and the sound vision of its leadership.”

Almost one in four Arab youth (24 per cent) named the UAE as their top choice for where they would most like to live.

It was followed by the US (19 per cent), Canada (19 per cent), Qatar (14 per cent) and the UK (13 per cent).

Qatar appeared in the top five for the first time in eight years, with the report suggesting it was enjoying a feel-good factor from hosting the FIFA World Cup last winter.

“The rise of Qatar to once again become a top-five nation to live in and to emulate is particularly noteworthy,” said Mr John.

“This reflects the hugely positive impact of the FIFA World Cup 2022 last November and December; without question, the tournament had a galvanising effect on both the regional economy and Arab pride.”

The UAE topped the polls once again when it came to the nation that most young Arabs wanted their own countries to emulate, according to 22 per cent of respondents.

It was then followed by the US (19 per cent), Canada (16 per cent), Qatar (15 per cent) with Saudi Arabia and the UK both with 11 per cent.

The survey noted this was the first appearance of Saudi Arabia in the list of countries to emulate since 2017.

“Today, GCC economies are increasingly investing in world-class infrastructure as they become dynamic hubs for trade, finance, tourism, education and healthcare,” said Mr John.

“Young Arabs see these countries as model nations because they appreciate the opportunities for jobs and prosperity being created and the potential to realise a better, more fulfilling life for themselves.”

The ease of obtaining a salary was also said to be key factor for 12 per cent of respondents.

This year’s survey was also the first time in nine years that three GCC nations had been named among the top five model nations.

Updated: June 20, 2023, 2:03 PM