Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 May 2019

Seven out of 10 people in Abu Dhabi are happy, survey reveals

More than 51,000 people were asked about jobs, safety and health care in the emirate

Guests at the launch of the Department of Community Development’s research findings hear how Abu Dhabi scored higher than the EU and OECD averages when it came to residents’ happiness. Victor Besa / The National
Guests at the launch of the Department of Community Development’s research findings hear how Abu Dhabi scored higher than the EU and OECD averages when it came to residents’ happiness. Victor Besa / The National

Seven out of 10 people living in Abu Dhabi describe themselves as being happy and more than 90 per cent of residents feel safe going out at night, one of the largest surveys in the emirate suggests.

The survey last year polled more than 51,000 people living in the capital, of whom 60 per cent were non-Emiratis.

The First Social Survey of Abu Dhabi Emirate was carried out by the Department of Community Development, which has responsibility for providing “a decent life for all community members”.

The survey polled respondents on 14 topics including housing, income, jobs, health, education, safety and security, environment, well-being and community participation.

“When you do a survey, you never know what to expect,” said Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, chairman of the department. “We discovered positive areas and other areas that needed improvement.”

Abu Dhabi scored 7.11 out of 10 for satisfaction, higher than the 6.5 average for countries in the OECD, the Better Life Index showed.

The organisation has 36 member states and includes many of the world’s most advanced countries, but also emerging markets such as Mexico, Chile and Turkey.

The survey showed that 77 per cent of people in Abu Dhabi are happy, about the same as the EU where the result is 75 per cent.

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Although its results were generally positive, particularly regarding happiness (77 per cent) and general satisfaction (71 per cent), Mr Al Khaili said there were areas his department intended to improve.

“The areas that needed improvement are social support, senior citizens, people with disabilities, public benefit organisations, the third sector [voluntary work], community participation and family strategy,” he said.

“We have begun work on improving many of these areas. Some are under review and others will be reviewed in the first quarter of the year.

“We want Emiratis and residents to know how much the government supports them and their social development.”

The department launched its own initiatives, such as Maan, a platform that promotes volunteering and social responsibility.

This month, it opened applications for a programme to support low-income Emiratis.

The department also works with seven entities in the community development sector, including Dar Zayed for Family Care, Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs, Social Care and Minors Affairs Foundation and the Family Development Foundation.

“Priorities of the department have been highlighted to establish solid foundations, starting from the department and branching out to all society members,” it said.

It aims to provide “a decent standard of living for all, a tolerant and inclusive society founded on cohesive families and an active and responsible community”.

“We also want to empower people with disabilities to achieve their dreams,” the department said.

“We want to see active and athletic members of society participating in regional and international events.

“And we would like to see profit and non-profit organisations working towards the benefit of society.”

Updated: January 24, 2019 06:25 PM

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