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Mon 7 Apr 2014 10:58 AM

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UAE is the best country in the world to live in: Arab Youth Survey

40% of young people surveyed picked the emirates over 20 global countries, including UK, USA and Germany

UAE is the best country in the world to live in: Arab Youth Survey

The UAE was ranked the most desired country to live in out of 20 global countries, including the UK, USA and Germany, according to an annual survey unveiled at a press conference in Dubai today.

Nearly 40 percent of young Arabs surveyed as part of the sixth annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey said they would like to live in the UAE, up from 31 percent last year.

The findings are consistent with the 2013 World Happiness Report, commissioned by the United Nations, which indicated that the UAE was the happiest Arab country and the 17th happiest nation globally.

UAE nationals were also the most optimistic among all those polled about the future of their country, with 69 percent agreeing with the statement “I feel optimistic about what the future holds for my country”, compared to 55 percent of respondents overall.

Young Emiratis are also the most confident about their future prospects with half believing they have more opportunities now than they did a year ago, compared to two in five overall.

The Arab Youth Survey, released on Monday, also shows that Arabs aged under 25 years are increasingly less optimistic about the Arab Spring and are more confident in their governments, while the rising cost of living and unemployment has become their greatest concern.

The annual survey has become a yearly insight into the attitudes and aspirations of the region’s 200 million youth, which account for 60 percent of the entire Arab population.

When asked whether they agreed with the statement, “Traditional values are outdated and belong in the past; I am keen to embrace modern values and beliefs,” 46 per cent of young people in the region were in agreement.

Although the modernists remain a slight minority, it was the highest percentage in the survey’s history, up from just 17 percent in 2011.

However family, friends, and religion remain the greatest influences on the lives of young Arab nationals, with two-thirds of survey respondents citing their parents (67 percent) as their first source for advice and counsel, followed by family (58 percent), religion (56 percent) and friends (46 percent).

External forces also are increasing their sphere of influence, with community leaders rising from 33 percent in 2013 to 38 percent and social media and bloggers reaching 35 percent.

This year the survey found the 2012 and 2013 high levels of optimism in the outcomes of the Arab Spring, are waning, but confidence in national governments’ abilities to deal with a wide range of issues - including living standards, economic stability and unemployment – are increasing.

Just over half (54 percent) of respondents agree “a lot” with the statement, “Following the uprisings across the Arab world, I feel the Arab world is better off”, significantly down from 70 percent in 2013 and 72 percent in 2012.

Comparatively, more than two-thirds are either “very” or “somewhat confident” in their government’s ability to deal with the rising rates of unemployment (68 percent), while similar numbers are optimistic about their ability to deal with war (67 percent) and enhance living standards (66 percent).

However, youth are less confident long-term.

Over half of young people polled (58 percent) are “not very” or “not at all” confident in their government’s ability to address wealth creation, while a similar number (57 percent) are uncertain about the ability to tackle environmental issues.  

This year the rising cost of living and unemployment were identified as the two biggest concerns for Arab youth.

More than three in five (63 percent) say they are “very concerned” about rising living costs, which is similar to results in the past three years. The concern is similar in the more affluent GCC markets (63 percent) and in the wider region (62 percent).

Half also are concerned about unemployment, demonstrating a steady increase over the last four years, up from 44 percent in 2013 and 2012 and 42 percent in 2011, broadly in line with rising unemployment rates.

Concern about unemployment is strongest in the non-GCC countries, where governments are struggling to provide jobs for their growing populations, with 55 per cent citing it as their biggest concern.

Though still high at 39 percent, youth in the Gulf are less concerned than their counterparts in the rest of the Arab world, with oil-rich governments providing some reassurance.

But it appears government attempts to encourage more entrepreneurship, including better skill development and access to funding,  is having an effect, with two-thirds (67 percent) of young Arabs believing people of this generation are more likely to start a business than in previous generations.

Young GCC citizens also are increasingly seeking to join the private sector, with 31 percent of respondents in the Gulf saying they would like to work in the private sector, up from 24 percent in 2013 and 19 percent in 2012.

In contrast, the preference towards the private sector in non-GCC countries is declining at 31 percent in 2014, up from 28 percent in 2013 and 36 percent in 2012.

Meanwhile, the Gulf governments’ growing political weight saw Arab youth prefer GCC states as their country’s allies over traditional western countries, with Saudi Arabia number one.

The survey respondents cited four of the Gulf’s six member states in their country’s top five allies with more than a third (36 percent) saying Saudi Arabia is their country’s biggest supporter, followed by the UAE (33 percent), Qatar (25 percent) and Kuwait (25 percent). The United States is the only western country to feature in the top five allies at 22 percent.

The Arab Youth Survey aims to inform policy and decision-making of both governments and the private sector and Don Baer, worldwide chair and CEO of Burson-Marsteller and chairman of PSB, which conducted the survey, said it had the power to challenge stereotypes about an “often misunderstood” region and demographic.

ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller CEO Sunil John said young people were increasingly today’s leaders and society shapers.

“Understanding the needs, wants and aspirations of this group, the region’s largest demographic, is hugely important – for governments, for businesses, for brands, for communities,” he said.

Sujin Balakumaran 5 years ago

No Doubt about that. This is one of the best country to live for good people who are of law abiding nature. The best secured country where you can raise your family.

Sulaiman 5 years ago

Very much agree with the survey. For sure UAE is the best country to live. Being a resident in Dubai for the past 34 years, I can also confidently say that UAE is the safest country to live with family - Thanks to the Rulers & the people of the UAE who strive to maintain this status for ever.

Dadi 5 years ago

...until you bounce a cheque. :)

Skeptic 5 years ago

Ha Ha !! So true, Dadi, so true !!!!
Can I add a few more ...
... until its time to renew your Rent agreement
... until you lose your job
... unless you are being tailgated on Sh.Zayed Road
... unless it's July/August
... until you want to get a visa for your family member
... until you see your water / electricity bill
... unless you are a labourer / maid

Sane Voice 5 years ago

or you don't let a tailgater past quick enough and they frame you by claiming you gave them the famous single finger salute. :)

Raza 5 years ago

The survey participants should have asked also whether they have experienced to live in Norway, Sweden or New Zealand, the person who only lives in one country whole of his life, how he can give his opinion...!
But no doubt, UAE is also one of the best place to live in the world.

Najeeb Puthoocharayappil 5 years ago

Norway, Sweden and New Zealand have bad weather, high taxes, high cost of petrol and living, no one will choose them over the UAE which is probably the best place in the world to live

Raza 5 years ago

UAE could be one of the best place to live but can't tops the list. In Norway, a common labor person get $15 per hour, if he works 9 hours, he can earn $ 135 equal to 495 Dhs per day. In returns to the taxes, any expat can have free health, education and many more governmental facilities free of cost. And don't forget, you can have citizenship there too, you would not need to pack your luggage after 40 years of stay.

Peter 5 years ago

...Nearly 40 percent of young Arabs surveyed said they would like to live in the UAE...

So in other words 60% don't want to live here

I do agree that UAE is a great place to live but this article is quite misleading

Also, have any of the surveyed you Arabs tried living anywhere else in the world? It would have been interesting to do a poll on how many % have

one of the joes 5 years ago

Najeeb, please express your personal opinion, but do not try to talk on my behalf. You write "no one will choose them over the UAE" . That is your opinion. I and many people I know have chosen to live in other countries than the UAE. And we are very happy with our choices. And many people don't even consider living here - they possibly have different values than you do. And may be they even have more options available to them?
I keep reading these pages for the fun of it. so many people seem to feel a need to justify why they are here. if you like it then enjoy it. Please don't try to create a universal truth from your own little experience.