6 Safest Cities in the Middle East for an Expat & Their Family
Safety should be one of your primary concerns when moving abroad as an expat; and with the on-going political unrest in the region it is right to question these cities/countries safety before the decision to move is made, particularly if you have a young family.
Jeddah’s crime index was ranked at 35.08 and ranked 64.92 on the safety scale according to numbeo. Level of crime was ranked as ‘low’ (29.17) but there were a number of moderate concerns including crime increase in the past 3 years, and a ‘very high’ concern regarding corruption and bribery. However, in terms of walking the streets alone during the day, it scored 84.21 (which is very safe) and dropped to 65.00 during the night.
Overall, we ranked Jeddah as our 6th safest city, but don’t misread it as it not being safe! Jeddah is certainly a very safe city. Conservative, like most of Saudi Arabia, expats tend to live in gated communities, so crime and safety within these communities is very low. If you fear for discrimination once out of these communities, Saudi’s are actually very courteous and hospitable making it a fantastic destination to relocate, one with plentiful opportunities for various different industries including, banking, finance, HR, Education and healthcare.
Numbeo ranked Kuwait City’s crime index at 32.45 and its safety index at 67.55. The level of crime is ranked “low” whilst also receiving a score of 80.26 for safety walking alone on the streets during daytime and a 75.00 ranking of safety walking alone during the night-time. Respondents indicated a moderate level of bribery and corruption was the main problem in the city with a moderate increase in crime in the past 3 years.
Overall we ranked Kuwait City as our 5th safest city once we considered other factors including access to expatriate communities and pollution, which can be an eyesore to those used to clean streets. For families, the high cost of education and general living costs can be a factor however; Kuwait City is an extremely attractive city to move to. Boasting some of the regions highest salaries it is also one of the more stable economies in the world.
Riyadh’s crime index ranked 31.11, the lowest out of Saudi’s main cities. Their safety scale also led the nations metros with a ranking of 68.89. Their level of crime increase in the past 3 years is slightly higher than Jeddah’s, although both sit in the category of moderate and ones safety walking alone during the daytime is very high at 88.37 and 71.51 when walking alone during the night.
Overall, Riyadh is our 3rd safest city and like Jeddah, can actually be a lot safer than some of the numbers indicate. The numbers are reflective of the entire city in general and not representing the level of crime within the expat communities. Such communities are exceptionally safe and well maintained, with their own security policing the premises. Riyadh is also one of the cheapest places to live within the region, so a greater portion of your paycheck will be able to be saved to travel the beautiful countryside of this geographically huge country.
Numbeo ranked Doha’s crime index a lowly 21.01 and safety index at 78.99, one of the best numbers from all of the cities we looked at. Despite this, levels of crime in the past 3 years have increased at a moderate rate, but overall, the level of crime remains “very low” with a score of 13.71. It scores 87.90 in regards to safety walking alone during the daytime and 82.26 safety ranking whilst walking alone during the night, both of which are ’very safe.’
Doha ranked slightly better both on the crime index and safety index than Dubai, however we have decided to call it a tie between both cities, as they were so close in a number of aspects. Dubai has a more established expat community, so one might feel more comfortable living in this eloquent city compared to the quickly evolving Doha. Contemporary in terms of Middle Eastern laws and practices, you may feel more at home in Dubai than in Doha, although both are modern hubs in their own right.
Dubai’s crime index rating is 21.50 according to numbeo, with a safety scale ranking of 78.50. Fears of drug use, assault, vandalism, theft and other petty crimes remain very low, with a level of crime scoring 12.93. In regards to safety, it scored very highly walking alone both during the day and night, scoring 88.66 and 81.25 respectively.
As mentioned, we ranked Dubai slightly higher than Doha, simply because of the greater amount of expats that live here. You may feel more comfortable for yourself and your family. In terms of everything else however, they are pretty much even.
Abu Dhabi had the best ranking crime index and the only city to break below the 20s. It scored 19.59 and an overall level of crime of 16.09. It ranked 80.41 on the safety scale, higher than any other city within the region. There is little worry of being attacked on the streets with safety on the streets during daytime ranking at 89.66. Surprisingly, their night-time score scored 79.17, with is still high, but a gap of more than 10 points between night and day and lower than Dubai and Doha’s night-time statistics.
Overall, Abu Dhabi was our number 1 ranked safest city. Statistically the overwhelming leader in all categories (minus the walking alone at night-time) it was the clear leader in terms of safety for both yourself and your family. The governmental hub for the UAE, public jobs are abundant and also construction, healthcare and oil and gas workers are needed.
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