- The most expensive countries in the Middle East for expatriates to live in are: Qatar; United Arab Emirates; Israel; Iran; Lebanon.
- The most expensive cities in the Middle East for expatriates to live in: Doha (122 most expensive in the world); Abu Dhabi; Dubai; Jerusalem; Tehran
- The cheapest country and city in the Middle East for expatriates to live in: Sanaa in Yemen (711th most expensive in the world).
Which cities / countries drop in the ranking, and which moved up?
- The biggest mover down the rankings is Manama in Bahrain, which has dropped to become the 277th most expensive location in the world.
- The biggest mover up the rankings is Baghdad in Iraq, which has risen to be the 469th most expensive location in the world.
Reasons for this movement:
Manama is 11% less expensive than Doha in terms of overall cost of living. In fact overall, Manama is only the seventh most expensive city in the Middle East. Manama is less expensive for the big ticket items which comprise a larger portion of an expatriate’s budget, such as housing and healthcare. A surprising result this quarter is that comparing the cost of living excluding housing, education, healthcare and transport actually results in Manama being marginally more expensive than Doha as it is slightly more expensive for clothing, groceries, recreation & culture, and meals out.
Baghdad is slowly recovering after years of hostilities. The economy still lacks effective economic policies. The weak state of the financial system, together with its limited role in the economy, also makes development the private sector difficult. Increasing demand for goods and services with a lack of regular supply is the main reason for the cost of living in Iraq rising.
Top 10 overall Cost of Living Rankings in the Middle East by city:
- Qatar, Doha
- United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi
- United Arab Emirates, Dubai
- Israel, Jerusalem
- Iran, Tehran
- Lebanon, Beirut
- Bahrain, Manama
- Kuwait, Kuwait City
- Palestinian Territories, West Bank
- Saudi Arabia, Riyadh
Xpatulator.com Head of Client and Marketing Services Denise McManus comments that: “The Middle East is not as expensive in global terms compared to a few years ago. Inflation in the region is generally low, and in Qatar and the UAE in particular there are more choices in terms of accommodation and schooling. The current situation may change in Qatar as the major projects related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup kick-off and the number of expatriates in Qatar increases dramatically over the next few years.”
For further cost of living information on the Middle East go here.