How Gulf cities fared in the Global 150 Cities Index
The major metropolises of the Arab World feature prominently in the latest index from Air-Inc, which ranks cities around the world for earning power and quality of life
The index, which ranks 150 of the top global locations according to financial attractiveness and lifestyle attractiveness, is dominated by countries from the GCC.
Dubai: Ranked sixth overall, Dubai continues to be a city that attracts people from across the MENASA region and Europe. The combination of year-round sunshine, modern amenities, multinational companies and high salaries – it came fourth in Deutsche Bank’s 2018 salary survey – might have contributed to its work-hard-play-hard reputation, but its safety ensures it’s a place many people choose to raise their families.
Abu Dhabi: The capital of the UAE comes in at 17th, but seventh on the financial list, which means it’s a great place to earn a living but maybe loses out to other cities in what you might choose to do after you’ve earned it. But it’s still a place with a whole lot to offer the expat worker – and its portfolio of malls, restaurants, beach clubs, sporting venues and entertainment facilities is only set to grow further. Expect a higher rank in 2025.
Manama: Bahrain’s ever-appealing capital might only come in at 47th on the list – and that’s still ahead of the likes of Tokyo and Lisbon – but it comes out first for personal finances. That means the island nation’s combination of salary levels, cost of living and taxation is considered the best in the world. It’s burgeoning finance, fintech and tourist industries are indicators its diversification plans are on a solid footing.
Amman: The elevated position (49th overall) of Jordan’s capital might surprise, but Amman still has some of the best salary-to-cost-of-living ratios for expats. When you add in a wonderful climate, the generally unhurried pace of life and some of the region’s most remarkable historical, cultural and natural attractions right on your doorstep, there’s much to recommend the city of brotherly love.
Muscat: Perched on the Indian Ocean at one of the most westerly points of the Arab World, Muscat has an atmosphere all its own – and one that has long attracted expats from across the Middle East and subcontinent. Compared to the glitzier neighbours in the emirates, the cost of living in the Omani capital is perhaps its biggest draw, with a recent mercer survey placing roughly halfway in a list of 200 – on a par with Toronto. It’s a very liveable city.