David Hedengren
Last updated: 23 August, 2012

Long way to go before the Middle East is an ideal place to live

The cities in the MENA region are far away from the world’s most liveable according to a recent survey. Israel, Jordan, Tunisia and the Gulf countries get the highest scores in the region, with Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi as frontrunners.

Teheran, Tripoli and Algiers are among the world’s worst cities to live in, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit which recently released the 2012 edition of its annual Liveability Report. Both the Libyan and the Algerian capital suffered heavily in last year’s ranking.

”The big story for the MENA region in terms of liveability came in 2011 when the Arab Spring impacted on a large number of cities, pushing down stability scores and weakening the position of these cities in the ranking. In Libya this is a case of the civil war ending and the city still sits well below it’s ranking of 2010. Similarly, Algiers remains at the bottom of the table and improvements have been marginal at best,” says the report’s author Jon Copestake.

For many cities in the region liveability remains unchanged from previous year, and this has meant that rankings have not moved either.

“However, cities such as Al Khobar, Tel Aviv and Amman have improved on their ranking positions, thanks to other cities falling down the table,” says Ceopestake.

The Liveability Report is designed to survey cities and business centres that people might want to live in or visit. This means that locations such as Kabul and Baghdad are excluded. The report does, however, still include Damascus, which experienced a large drop from last year. But given this summer’s developments in Syria, one would expect Damascus to get an even lower ranking – or join the ranks of Kabul and Baghdad – if the survey was conducted today.

The list: MENA cities’ liveability

(1. Melbourne, Australia)
(55. London)
(56. New York)
76. Tel Aviv, Israel
79. Abu Dhabi, UAE
80. Manama, Bahrain
85. Doha, Qatar
88. Dubai, UAE
89. Muscat, Oman
90. Kuwait City, Kuwait
102. Amman, Jordan
104. Tunis, Tunisia
109. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
109. Istanbul, Turkey
112. Casablanca, Morocco
114. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
120. Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia
122. Cairo, Egypt
130. Damascus, Syria
132. Tehran, Iran
132. Tripoli, Libya
135. Algiers, Algeria
(140. Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit