American University of Beirut

Ras Beirut Well-Being Survey

The Ras Beirut Well-Being Survey is a major research project of the AUB Neighborhood Initiative (مبادرة حُسن الجوار), and a response to the dearth of up-to-date sociological, demographic, and health information about neighborhood residents.  The research was enriched by the perspectives of a multidisciplinary team drawn from across AUB.  This monograph provides a descriptive overview of the main survey findings.

A major finding is that while a growing number of Ras Beirut residents live in newly constructed towers, -- in huge flats owned by wealthy family households often residing only part-time in the neighborhood--, a substantial and less obvious group lives in run-down lower rise buildings with a large proportion of older, old-rent tenants. The latter have fewer financial resources, less access to the world-class health care nearby, and live in dwellings more likely to have environmental problems.  These unequal daily lives, most visible at the extremes, affect health and well-being in Ras Beirut.

The book is available for purchase through the AUB Press. 


The Ras Beirut Well-Being Survey presents the first systematic portrait of the neighborhood in forty years. 

In 2009, the Neighborhood Initiative and a research team* from across AUB began planning a household survey to address questions that many residents themselves had:  what kinds of households live in Ras Beirut now?  What are their living conditions like?  What are the main threats to health?  And what are the sources of well-being?

To address these and other questions, a random sample of 674 households was interviewed in Ras Beirut and Ain Mreisseh in 2009 and 2010.  The survey asked a wide range of questions about household structure; age, marital status and nationality; housing arrangements including housing tenure; income and household wealth; religiosity; education; health status, unhealthy practices; and quality of life.  In October 2011, the results of the survey were displayed in three different public squares in the neighborhood over 3 consecutive days.  See photos and media coverage below.

A monograph, The Profile of a Neighborhood: Health and Well-Being in Ras Beirut will be published by AUB Press in Arabic and English in Summer 2016.  Click here to look through the database on this study.

The research team

Afamia Kaddour (Faculty of Health Sciences and PhD Candidate, University of Geneva)
Cynthia Myntti (Professor of Public Health Practice, Faculty of Health Sciences and Project Leader, the Neighborhood Initiative)
Nisreen Salti (Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Faculty of Arts and Sciences)
Sawsan Abdulrahim (Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences)
Livia Wick (Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Media Studies, Faculty of Arts and Sciences)
Huda Zurayk (Former Dean and Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences)

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