The Department of Community Development (DCD) has revealed high satisfaction rates for health, quality of life, jobs and trust in public institutions in the third cycle results for its Quality of Life Survey (QOLS). The survey polled 82,761 community members, with the aim of measuring the quality of life and well-being of people living in Abu Dhabi. This has revealed several indicators such as 93.5% of Abu Dhabi residents feel safe.
The survey is considered a main measuring tool for Abu Dhabi’s social and government sectors to develop its methods of working. Over the course of three cycles of the survey between 2020-2022, nearly 200,000 community members – both citizens and residents – participated and offered their opinions and suggestions on pertinent topics related to important societal issues.
His Excellency Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development, said: “The Quality of Life Survey is the voice of society and it is continuously developing in line with the needs of all groups, especially since the results of the survey in the first cycle enabled the team to prepare strategies and develop important policies that contribute to development — this includes launching the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination, raising the quality of family life, developing initiatives that promote a culture of sports, in addition to developing a volunteer work policy, a social support policy, emergency procedures and strengthening the protection policy for victims of violence and abuse.
"The development of the QOLS indicators have been guided by the OECD’s Better Life Index, which examines people's satisfaction with their lives and with the services provided by their governments. Additional indicators were added for Abu Dhabi in order to identify the needs of community members, keeping in mind the emirate's position among developed countries in terms of the level of improving lives.”
Previous cycles of the survey have helped bridge the gap between the DCD and its partners, enabling further collaboration with partners to develop innovative solutions such as specific policies, strategies and initiatives that sustainably enhance the quality of life of individuals.
With the data being compiled from the recent results, the DCD have pledged to continue conducting surveys and studies to help determine social priorities in Abu Dhabi and enhance participation between the department and concerned parties.
The third cycle of the survey included 14 main indicators that were developed based on the results of the first and second rounds including housing; job opportunities, revenues, family wealth, work-life balance, health, education and skills, security and personal safety, social relations, civic participation and governance, environment quality, social and cultural cohesion, social and community service, digital quality of life, and happiness and well-being.
This survey was prepared in six languages — Arabic, English, Bengali, Hindi, Tagalog, and Telugu — to increase the breadth of its reach and tap into numerous segments of society, enabling them to share their opinions and suggestions.
In the security and personal safety indicators, 93.5% of Abu Dhabi residents reported that they felt safe when walking alone at night, which is higher than the 93% recorded in 2020 and higher than all OECD countries. The happiness and well-being index recorded that the population of Abu Dhabi scored their satisfaction with life at 70%, which is higher than the OECD average of 67%, while the level of happiness among the population increased to 76.3%, compared to the score of 71.7% in 2020.
The social relations indicators’ results showed that the percentage of people who agreed or strongly agreed that they are satisfied with their social relationships is 74%, while the percentage of satisfaction with family life reached 73%, and the percentage of quality and enjoyable time spent with the family increased from 23.9% in 2020 to 39.2%. The highest rates of happiness were recorded among people who met their friends several times a week, at 7.49 points on a scale of 0 to 10.
As for the social and cultural cohesion indicators, a high level of national pride and community identity was recorded among Emirati citizens and a sense of community identity among expatriates in Abu Dhabi. On religious freedom, 89% of individuals expressed that they agree or strongly agree with the phrase: I feel the religious freedom in Abu Dhabi.
Among the digital quality of life indicators, which monitors digital access to data, access to information and communication technology, found that 88.7% of Abu Dhabi residents enjoy internet services in their homes, which is higher than 85.2% recorded in 2020.
The results of the survey support the department's efforts to develop and protect society by combining modern lifestyles with cultural values and to achieve harmony between society and all sectors of work. Additionally, the results will better contribute to the development of methods that will support the progress of all sectors of society.
Among the health indicators, 51.2% of the elderly answered that they suffer from chronic health problems, while the mental health indicator showed that between 20-40% of participants had recently faced some mental and emotional problems.
Participants also identified causes of stress, which were due to financial burdens, workloads, family relationships, job security and workplace relationships.
Among the sports indicators, 60% of participants stated that lack of time is one of the main reasons for not exercising. In regard to volunteer work, 56.4% of participants indicated that they did not know or knew very little about volunteer opportunities.
The QOLS is based on a global model and concept applied by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to help analyse and improve life quality in all its dimensions. The results are analysed and compared with the results of a number of countries around the world, which consider the quality of life as a fundamental pillar in the growth and development of a nation. These countries include USA, Britain, Finland, Norway, France and Italy, and the comparison is conducted to identify the activities and best practices in important social fields and to achieve a strong position among the indices of global competitiveness.