Predictors of life satisfaction in the United Arab Emirates: Results based on Gallup data

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The literature is rife with papers discussing the state of developed and developing economies with a number of commonalities around what drives life satisfaction. In sum, females, the educated and well off, younger and older generations, the married or partnered as well as employees with decent job prospects report higher life satisfaction. Yet, whether these hold true in a diverse, expatriate society transitioning from post-oil dependence to a knowledge economy, as is the case in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is unknown. Using survey data of a nationally representative sample collected by the Gallup Organization between the years of 2006 to 2017, we explore life satisfaction of more than 17,000 UAE residents and citizens. Our results show that the usual predictors found in other nations did not completely hold true. Age does not follow the usual U-shaped life satisfaction relationship in male or female citizens. Tertiary education contributes to life satisfaction only for men, but not women. Unemployment and the freedom to live one’s life as chosen have no significant impact. There remain culture-specific determinants of life satisfaction that require continued investigation, particularly in Middle Eastern nations such as the UAE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3827-3841
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Gallup world poll
  • Life evaluation index
  • Negative and positive experience indices
  • Social support
  • UAE
  • Wellbeing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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