Doha has been rated as among the top 10 cities in which to live in the Middle East and North Africa, according to results from a new survey.
Qatar’s capital came in 6th place overall out of 20 cities from 14 different countries in the region, results from the latest edition of the study conducted by online recruitment agency Bayt.com and market researchers YouGov show.
The study examined respondents’ attitudes to dozens of different factors under the themes of economic; labor rights; environmental; standard of living; socio-cultural; sports, arts and recreation and entrepreneurship.
Doha scored in the top half of the cities for all categories, although it didn’t come out on top in any one field.
Generally, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of people interviewed said they very or somewhat happy in their city of residence, while 14 percent were somewhat unhappy or not happy at all.
This compares to 83 percent for Abu Dhabi and 79 percent each for Manama and Muscat. Meanwhile, only a quarter (26 percent) of Beirut residents felt happy about living there.
However, respondents from cities in the Emirates were consistently more upbeat about where they live, and it is the two main cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai that took the top spots respectively overall for the region.
How Doha did
Qatar’s capital fared well in many of the “standard of living” indicators, which were rated as “good” or “excellent” by 83 percent for a low crime rate, 77 percent for clean roads and streets, 71 percent for stable political environment and 70 percent for feeling of stability and serenity.
More than half of those questioned had positive responses to the city’s availability of parks and gardens (54 percent good or excellent) and quality of education (54 percent).
However, people didn’t score Doha as highly in some surprising categories, including availability of jobs, with slightly more than a third (39 percent) rating it as good or excellent.
And, more than fifth of respondents scored Doha as poor or bad for offering competitive salaries.
Some of the conclusions were at odds with another recent international survey measuring the quality of life for expats.
In last month’s HSBC’s Expat Explorer survey 2015, Qatar ranked 22nd out of 39 countries, and had notably dropped from 13th place last year.
It scored poorly for “expat experience”, particularly due to the high cost of accommodation, culture and health.
Rising rent prices are repeatedly cited in surveys and anecdotally by expats as a downside of life in Qatar.
While 54 percent of respondents in the Bayt/YouGov survey said the availability of affordable housing in Doha was bad or poor, more than a fifth (22 percent) rated it as good or excellent.
Beirut scored the worst, with three-quarters of its residents saying housing in the Lebanese city was poor or bad, while nearly half of those living in Manama rated their accommodation availability as good or excellent.
When asked about labor rights, Qatar came in 8th position, with more than a third (33 percent) rating its record as bad or poor, and just a quarter as good or excellent.
Abu Dhabi came in top, with Dubai second. Doha was behind the Saudi Eastern Province, but ahead of Riyadh and Kuwait City.