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Is Amman really the most expensive Arab city?

By Mohammad Ghazal - Apr 27,2016 - Last updated at Apr 27,2016

A recent photo of downtown Amman (Photo contributed by Hareth Nwihi)

AMMAN — Amman was ranked as the most expensive city in the Arab world, according to the Economist Intelligent Unit, as economists differed on the accuracy of the report.

Globally, Amman was ranked in the 29th place as the most expensive city, according to the worldwide cost of living survey by the Economist Intelligent Unit, which covered 133 countries.

Amman was more expensive than Abu Dhabi, which came second, and Dubai, which came third at the Arab level, according to the Worldwide Cost of Living, a bi-yearly Economist Intelligence Unit survey that compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services. These include food, drink, clothing, household supplies, personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help and recreational costs.

According to the report, Amman, which is home to around four million, is more expensive than Beijing, Luxembourg, Berlin, Stockholm, Rome, San Francisco, Madrid, Miami and many others.

"This unit is not considered a respected source of information. The survey is prepared by one editor in London based on a press report by the unit's office in India without any field survey…It is based on testimonies by businesspeople who visit Jordan and reside in five-star hotels," economist Fahed Fanek said in a column at Al Rai daily.

"These surveys measure the cost of living based on  the testimonies of people who reside in top-class hotels, eat at their restaurants, rent cars and drink alcohol, which is subject to 200 per cent customs fees. Such a consumption style does not reflect the cost of living for average Jordanians," said Fanek, saying it is strange that some writers use these reports and start making judgements about how expensive or not Amman is.

Economist Mazen Ersheid begged to differ. He said the report is realistic and reflects the actual situation in Amman.

“Many other international reports have also indicated that Amman is among the top five most expensive cities in the Arab world,” said Ersheid.

“When one compares the income in Jordan to the prices of many services, then Amman is definitely more expensive than other Arab cities,” he said, adding that the rise in income does not match the rise in prices of services in Jordan.

“With the cost of staying for two nights in a hotel in Aqaba or the Dead Sea, one can travel by plane and stay for five to six days in a four-star hotel in Sharm Al Sheikh with meals included,” said Ersheid.

Economist Hosam Ayesh agreed.

The annual per capita income in Jordan is around $5,200 annually, which is very low.


“When you compare prices to income Jordanians earn, then the report is correct. In Dubai and Abu Dubai, there are higher incomes, more economic growth, but in Amman the income is meager and the economy is not doing well, yet prices are still very high,” said Ayesh.

30 users have voted.


Jordan is exceptionally expensive to visit and live in. Having family across all the major cities in Jordan; I for one can see how they struggle. Everything in Jordan is an effort. Businesses (even the big ones) rip you off and there's no protection or recourse for consumers. Prices are extortionate and quality is low.

I love Jordan, but there's something fundamentally wrong when it's cheaper to buy everything in London than it is in Jordan. The worse thing (in Jordan) is that when you buy a product which turned s out to be faulty, there is no consumer protection whatsoever.

There's a distinct lack of green space in Jordan's major cities. There's a distinct lack of care for communal areas by citizens. It's a shame.

Living and visiting Jordan is exceptionally expensive compared to cities across the world. And I have visited many across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

GREENEYES , I agree with you

Es mucho jajaj

Shut up greeneyes your probably another homeless man somewhere in the United States with access to wifi that has nothing to do but trash talk about other countries that you wouldn't even afford to visit. You're just another hater PERIOD.

I'm Jordanian but I live in Britain. I used to come to Jordan at less twice a year but now maybe once every 2 years as it's really expensive.
My family are straggling and you have to be very rich to visit Jordan. This is not good foe the country and that's why tourism is down and in my opinion this is bad strategy

Amman and Jordan is filled with corrupt government and corrupt businesses. They do nothing to improve to situation or help their citizens. shame on the government, not only that it is dangerous for tourists and the dumb taxi drivers and agents of the landlords are good at over charging and stealing your money. Amman is dirty, smelling, dangerous, corrupt and NASTY! THERE ARE NO PARKS, BEACHES OR FLOWERS. JUST TRASH AND CIGARETTE SMOKE!

Jordan becomes more expensive when you consider other factors that have not been included in their calculations. Such items as customs taxes on automobiles, mobile phone taxes, and closing costs when purchasing a home. All of which are necessary for everyday living in Jordan.

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