The Best & Worst Cities in the Expat City Ranking 2020

0 673

Overall, 66 cities make it into this year’s Expat City Ranking 2020 by InterNations, the world’s largest expat community with around 4 million members. Five of the top 10 cities are located on the Iberian Peninsula — with Valencia (1st), Alicante (2nd), and Lisbon (3rd) at the very top, followed by Málaga (6th) and Madrid (9th).

The results at the other end of the ranking are geographically diverse, with Salmiya (66th), Rome (65th), and Seoul (64th) in the bottom 3. Survey respondents in Valencia — the best city for expats in 2020 — are particularly happy with local healthcare and the local climate, while expats in Salmiya — the worst-rated city worldwide — are not at all happy with their quality of life and the ease of getting settled in town.
Expats consider Salmiya in Kuwait (66th), Rome, Seoul, Milan, Nairobi, Paris, Johannesburg, Santiago, Dublin, and Hong Kong (57th) the world’s worst cities to live in.

The Expat City Ranking is based on the annual Expat Insider survey by InterNations, which is one of
the most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, with more than 15,000 respondents in
2020. This year, 66 cities around the globe are analyzed in the survey, which offers in-depth
information about five areas of expat life: Quality of Urban Living, Getting Settled, Urban Work Life, Finance & Housing, and Local Cost of Living.

Unfortunately, no city from Romania is included in this ranking.

As the data was collected in March 2020, just before COVID-19 turned into a global pandemic, one question, however, remains: Will these cities still come out on top in a post-COVID world?

The Best 10 Cities for Expats

1. Valencia Is the Best City for Expats Worldwide
Coming in 1st place out of 66 cities worldwide, Valencia is the best destination for expats, according
to the Expat City Ranking 2020. The Spanish city is among the top 5 in all topical indices but one. It
even ranks first worldwide in both the Quality of Urban Living and the Local Cost of Living Indices. In
fact, 94% of expats rate the local cost of living positively (vs. 46% globally), and 91% consider
healthcare easily available (vs. 74% globally). This places the city first in the Health & Environment
subcategory. Expats are also very happy with the local climate and weather (2nd) and the leisure
options (4th).
With more than four in five expats (82%) saying that housing in Valencia is affordable (vs. 41% globally),
it also comes first for this factor. Overall, the Spanish city ranks 3rd in the Finance & Housing Index. A
US American expat lists “the quality of life and the cost of living” as their favorite things about
Valencia. Apparently, it is also easy to get settled in Valencia, which comes 4th in this index. More than
four in five expats (84%) find it easy to get used to the local culture (vs. 61% globally), and 91% say that
the local residents are generally friendly (vs. 68% globally).
The Urban Work Life Index (46th) is Valencia’s only sore point. In the Job & Career subcategory, it only
ranks 62nd, with 46% of expats saying they are unhappy with their local career opportunities (vs. 34%
globally). A French expat says that “finding employment has always been difficult” for them. Moreover,
expats are not happy with the local economy: fewer than five in nine expats (54%) rate this aspect
positively, which is nine percentage points below the global average (63%).

2. Expats Receive a Warm Welcome in Alicante and Love the Sunny Climate
Placing 2nd out of 66 destinations, Alicante is one of the best cities worldwide for expats, beaten only
by neighboring Valencia (1st). The city ranks among the global top 3 in the Finance & Housing (2nd),
the Local Cost of Living (2nd), and the Getting Settled (1st) Indices. In fact, 83% of expats feel at home
there (vs. 64% globally), and 68% find it easy to make friends in Alicante (vs. 47% globally). A British
expat appreciates the “easy way of life and the friendliness of people around me”. In terms of finance,
81% of expats are satisfied with their financial situation (vs. 61% globally). Additionally, more than two
in three survey respondents (68%) say that housing in Alicante is affordable (vs. 41% globally), and
82% rate the cost of living in general positively (vs. 46% globally).
Similar to Valencia, Alicante shows a comparably weak performance in the Urban Work Life Index
(39th). For example, 44% of expats rate their local career opportunities negatively (vs. 34% globally),
putting the city into the bottom 10 worldwide for this factor (57th). In the Quality of Urban Living Index
(19th), the city also receives lower results, which is partly due to public transportation (46th). On the
other hand, Alicante receives great results for the availability of healthcare (89% satisfied vs. 74%
globally), as well as the local climate and weather (97% satisfied vs. 64% globally).

3. Lisbon: A Sunny, Safe, and Social Place for Expats
Coming in 3rd place out of 66 cities in the Expat City Ranking, Lisbon performs well across the board. It
does especially well in the Getting Settled Index (3rd), and 82% of expats feel at home in the city
(vs. 64% globally). Another 79% are happy with their social life there (vs. 59% globally), placing the city
3rd worldwide for this factor as well. The Quality of Urban Living Index (4th) showcases how much
expats like Lisbon, with the Portuguese capital coming 5th in the Leisure & Climate subcategory. In
fact, 89% of expats are satisfied with the local leisure options (vs. 71% globally). A Brazilian expat likes
to spend her leisure time “on the beach in the sun”. Moreover, 96% of expats are happy with Lisbon’s
weather and climate (vs. 64% globally), and 56% even very much so (vs. 26% globally). A Canadian
expat likes the “good weather and the safe environment”. Nearly all expats in Lisbon (99%) feel the same
way about their personal safety (vs. 82% globally).
While Lisbon also ranks a good 6th place in the Local Cost of Living Index, with 64% of expats being
satisfied with this aspect (vs. 46% globally), it does not perform as well in the Finance & Housing
Index (27th). Nearly three in eight expats (37%) find it difficult to find housing in Lisbon (vs. 27%
globally). Lastly, they city gets mixed results in the Urban Work Life Index (23rd): Expats are very happy
with their jobs in general (79% happy vs. 65% globally) and their personal work-life balance (83%
happy vs. 64% globally). But they are unhappy with the local career opportunities (37% unhappy
vs. 34% globally) and the state of the local economy (19% unhappy vs. 18% globally).

4. Panama City — Friendly, Relaxed, and Easy on the Expat Wallet
The Panamanian capital is not only the best-rated Latin American city in the Expat City Ranking 2020
but even makes it into the global top 5 (4th out of 66). This is mainly due to its performance in the
Finance & Housing (6th) and Getting Settled (14th) Indices.
Expats in Panama City are more than satisfied with their financial situation (72% positive responses
vs. 61% globally). They also consider it easy to find housing (4th), and more than half (55%) describe
the available housing as generally affordable (vs. 41% globally). In addition to this, about three in four
expats (76%) also feel at home in Panama City (vs. 64% globally), and 44% even agree completely (vs.
27% globally). “I think there’s room for development for me as a person. I am ready to see what Panama
has in store for me,” a female expat from Kenya comments.
Panama City does just slightly worse in the Urban Work Life Index (18th). On the one hand, 70% of
survey participants are satisfied with their jobs overall (vs. 65% globally), and 43% even say they could
not be any happier (vs. 20% worldwide). However, it seems difficult to get a job in the first place:
Panama City comes in 41st place for local career opportunities.
The city’s weakest point is the local quality of life. Panama City only places 39th in the respective index,
and expats are particularly dissatisfied with infrastructural factors such as public transportation (48th)
and the urban environment (50th).

5. Singapore Is the Second-Safest City Worldwide
Singapore (5th out of 66 in the general ranking) scores high in nearly all areas of the Expat City Ranking
2020. It performs best in the Quality of Urban Living Index (9th), which is largely due to its excellent
results in the Safety & Politics subcategory (2nd). A British expat living in Singapore describes it as “an
amazing place to live and extremely safe”. In fact, nearly all expats in Singapore rate the political stability
positively (90% vs. 61% globally) and feel personally safe there (97% vs. 82% globally). For personal
safety, Singapore even ranks 2nd worldwide, only beaten by Tokyo (1st).

Another area Singapore performs well in is the Finance & Housing Index (15th), with 63% of survey
respondents saying that their disposable household income is more than they need to cover their
expenses (vs. 51% globally). The city-state receives great results for this factor despite the fact that the
cost of living seems to be very high, with Singapore coming in 50th place in this index. Nearly three in
five expats (58%) rate the cost of living in Singapore negatively, compared to the global average of
36%. An expat from India says: “Living here is expensive, and as they say: ‘Everything comes with a price
tag!’” This is also true when it comes to housing: while 80% say it is easy to find housing as an expat
(vs. 55% globally), more than half (55%) say it is unaffordable (vs. 41% globally).
Lastly, it seems to be easy to get settled in Singapore as an expat — it ranks 16th in the Getting Settled
Index. Expats are particularly happy with the ease of making new friends (58% happy vs. 47%
globally),and they find it easy to get used to the local culture (70% happy vs. 61% globally). Maybe this
is why 76% also feel at home in Singapore (vs. 64% globally).

6. Málaga Is Easy to Get Settled and Cheap to Live In
Ranking 6th out of 66 destinations in the Expat City Ranking, the Spanish coastal city performs best in
the Getting Settled Index (2nd), where only Alicante (1st) ranks even better. Málaga comes first in both
the Friends & Socializing and the Feeling Welcome subcategories, with 87% of expats feeling at home
there (vs. 64% globally). Additionally, 77% of survey respondents are happy with their social life in
Málaga (vs. 59% globally). An expat from the UK lists “the friendships as well as the happiness and
friendliness of expats and locals” as their favorite things about life in Málaga. In fact, the vast majority
of respondents rates the friendliness of the local population positively (88% vs. 68% globally). The city
also performs very well in the Local Cost of Living (3rd) and the Finance & Housing (9th) Indices. Almost
nine in ten expats (88%) are happy with the local cost of living (vs. 46% globally), and 79% are happy
with their own financial situation as well (vs. 61% globally). Moreover, more than half the expats (54%)
describe housing in Málaga as affordable (vs. 41% globally).
Málaga lands among the top 15 in the Quality of Urban Life Index (14th), performing best in the
Leisure & Climate subcategory (2nd). All expats (100%) are happy with the climate and weather in
Málaga (vs. 64% globally), and 92% are satisfied with the availability of healthcare (vs. 74% globally).
On the downside, Málaga receives rather weak results in the Urban Work Life Index (54th). It even
ranks 65th for local career opportunities — only ahead of Rome — since just one in ten expats (10%)
is happy with the local career options (vs. 43% globally).

7. Buenos Aires — Great Ratings in Spite of Economic and Political Instability
Ranking only three places below Panama City (4th), Buenos Aires (7th out of 66) is the other Latin
American destination in the top 10 of the Expat City Ranking 2020. Overall, it gets some excellent
results despite its poor performance in the Urban Work Life Index (47th). The latter is mainly due to
expats worrying about Argentina’s unstable economy: nearly two in three (65%) rate this factor
negatively (vs. 18% globally), which puts the city in last place worldwide for this factor.
The lack of stability might also affect Buenos Aires’s ranking in the Quality of Urban Living Index (38th).
While the city is praised for its leisure options (88% happy vs. 71% worldwide), its disappointing 61st
place in the Safety & Security subcategory brings the ranking down: 62% of expats are unhappy with
the political (in)stability (vs. 17% globally), and 19% feel personally unsafe (vs. 9% globally).
However, expats rate Buenos Aires highly in both the Finance & Housing (11th) and the Local Cost of Living (15th) Indices. In fact, 57% rate the local living expenses positively (vs. 46% worldwide), and
seven in ten (70%) are satisfied with their financial situation. “It’s a cheap place, with affordable private
health insurance, if (!) you have US dollars,” according to an expat from the US.
Getting settled in Buenos Aires is not a problem, either. The city ranks fifth in this index, even making
it to first place for the ease of finding friends: 72% agree that it is easy to make new friends in Buenos
Aires (vs. 47% globally). “I just love the people here!”, adds another US expat.

8. Kuala Lumpur: Easy to Settle Down in on a Reasonable Budget
Ranking 8th, Kuala Lumpur comes in the top 10 of the Expat City Ranking for the fourth year in a row.
The city does particularly well in the Finance & Housing Index (1st). Exactly seven in ten expats in Kuala
Lumpur (70%) say that housing is affordable (vs. 41% globally), and over four in five (84%) also say it
is easy to find (vs. 55% globally). Moreover, more than three in four survey respondents are happy
with their financial situation (76% vs. 61% globally) and the local cost of living (77% vs. 46% globally). A
Swedish expat who lives in Kuala Lumpur agrees: “It is easy and affordable to live here.”
Kuala Lumpur also performs well in the Getting Settled Index (7th). A Singaporean expat living in Kuala
Lumpur shares: “Moving to Malaysia as a foreigner has been easy, and so has settling down here.” This
can be largely attributed to the ease of living in the city without speaking the local language and the
ease of making new friends. More than nine in ten expats (91%) say it is easy to live in Kuala Lumpur
without speaking the local language, which is 37 percentage points above the global average (54%).
What is more, the city ranks 8th in the Friends & Socializing subcategory, with 72% of expats being
happy with their social life (vs. 59% globally) and 60% finding it easy to make new friends (vs. 47%
globally).
On the other hand, Kuala Lumpur narrowly escapes landing among the bottom 10 in the Quality of
Urban Living Index, where it ranks 51st out of 66 cities. It does particularly poorly in the Safety &
Politics subcategory, with just 68% of expats rating their personal safety positively (vs. 82% globally).
Additionally, fewer than three in eight survey respondents (36%) are satisfied with the political stability
(vs. 61% globally).

9. Madrid: High Quality of Life at Low Costs for Expats
Ranking 9th out of 66 destinations in the Expat City Ranking 2020, Madrid is the last Spanish city to
make it into the top 10 — right after Málaga (6th), Alicante (2nd), and Valencia (1st). The Spanish capital
does especially well in the Quality of Urban Living Index (6th), coming 8th in the Leisure & Climate
subcategory: more than nine in ten expats (92%) are happy with its leisure options (vs. 71% globally),
which puts Madrid in first place worldwide for this factor. “I really like the leisure and entertainment
options here,” says a Venezuelan expat, and a US American also appreciates that there are “a lot of
activities to do with friends”. Additionally, 89% are satisfied with the local climate and weather (vs. 64%
globally).
Madrid also receives very good results in the Local Cost of Living Index (9th), with 64% of expats rating
this aspect positively (vs. 46% globally). An expat from Canada says that the “climate and cost of living”
are their favorite things about life in Madrid. Despite the apparently low cost of living, finances are
not great in Madrid. Madrid ranks 34th in the Finance & Housing Index and just 47th in the Finance
subcategory. In fact, 30% say that their disposable household income is not enough to cover all
expenses (vs. 21% globally).

The Urban Work Life Index (41st) looks similarly grim: Madrid only ranks 46th in the Job Security
subcategory, and 17% of expats are dissatisfied with the state of the local economy (vs. 18% globally).
A US American expat shares: “The job market is horrendous, and salaries are stagnant — I do not see the
opportunity here.” In fact, one in three expats (33%) is also dissatisfied with local career opportunities
(vs. 34% globally).
On the bright side, Madrid does rank well in the Getting Settled Index (13th). Most expats (83%) feel
at home in the Spanish capital (vs. 64% globally), and 79% find it easy to get used to the local culture
(vs. 61% globally).

10. Abu Dhabi — Easy to Relocate to, Safe to Live In
Among the Middle Eastern destinations in the Expat City Ranking 2020, Abu Dhabi is the best-rated
one, ranking 10th out of 66. It performs especially well in the Getting Settled Index (17th). Expats in
Abu Dhabi do not only find it easy to live there without speaking the local language (93% vs. 54%
globally), but they also consider it easy to make new friends (57% vs. 47% worldwide). Moreover, they
describe the local population as both friendly in general (17th) and friendly towards foreign residents
in particular (16th).
The Finance & Housing Index (23rd) is Abu Dhabi’s second-biggest strength. While 70% say it is easy
to find housing (vs. 55% globally), only 28% find it affordable (vs. 41% globally). Nonetheless, 63% are
satisfied with their financial situation, about the same as the global average (61%).
The city’s results in the Quality of Urban Living (33rd) and Urban Work Life (36th) Indices are just about
average. Abu Dhabi benefits from the easy availability of healthcare (10th) and the high degree of
personal safety (6th) — 78% of expats feel completely safe there (vs. 45% globally). However, only 50%
are happy with the local climate and weather (vs. 64% globally).
In terms of working in Abu Dhabi, expats are dissatisfied with their job security (47th), their working
hours (51st), and their work-life balance (52nd). “I dislike my very busy working schedule and not having
the time to socialize with my friends,” says an expat from Uganda.

The Worst 10 Cities for Expats

66. Salmiya — A City of Unhappy, Overworked, and Homesick Expats
Salmiya is the worst-rated destination in the Expat City Ranking 2020 (66th out of 66). It places last in
two indices and ends up among the bottom 10 in every single index but one. “What I don’t like about
local life? Oh, so many things — I could go on for hours!”, as an expat from Australia puts it.
In the Quality of Urban Living Index (66th), Salmiya’s only redeeming aspect seems to be the Safety &
Politics subcategory (47th). However, expats in Salmiya are unhappy with the local transportation
(61st), with their health and the environment (66th), as well as with climate and leisure (66th). Nearly
three in five (56%) dislike the local leisure options, for example (vs. 15% worldwide).
In the Getting Settled Index (66th), expats do not feel at home (54% vs. 21% globally), they describe
the local population as unfriendly (48% vs. 17% globally), and they are unhappy with their social life
(56% vs. 24% globally).

The city’s losing streak also continues in the Urban Work Life Index (65th), where it features among
the global bottom 10 in all subcategories: Job & Career (64th), Work-Life Balance (64th), and Job
Security (59th). For example, expats in Salmiya are the least happy with their work-life balance
worldwide (41% unhappy vs. 18% globally).
Things are looking up a little in the Finance & Housing Index (55th). However, even for its best-ranking
factor in this index — the ease of finding housing — Salmiya still places 44th out of 66.

65. Rome Is the Second-Worst City Worldwide for Expats
Rome (65th) comes second to last in the overall Expat City Ranking 2020, ranking only ahead of
Salmiya in Kuwait (66th) and slightly behind Milan (63rd). Rome comes in last place worldwide in the
Urban Work Life Index (66th), with only 8% of survey respondents rating their local career options
positively (vs. 43% globally). Three in ten expats (30%) are dissatisfied with their job in general (vs. 18%
globally), and 37% feel their job is not secure (vs. 22% globally). More than three in five respondents
(62%) are also concerned about the economy in the Italian capital (vs 18% globally), and 30%
are unhappy with their work-life balance (vs. 18% globally). “I do not like the work-life balance and may
have to consider moving away from Italy for work,” shares a Canadian expat. “On top of this, the weak
economy makes career advancements difficult.”
Rome performs just as poorly in the Quality of Urban Living Index (63rd): expats are dissatisfied with
the public transportation system (64% vs. 24% globally), feel unsafe (20% vs. 9% globally), and are
unhappy with the urban environment (46% vs. 21% globally). The city performs slightly better in the
Getting Settled Index (44th), with more than three in five expats (62%) feeling at home in Rome (vs.
64% globally). Still, 30% of respondents find the local residents unfriendly (vs. 17% globally), and 34%
are unhappy with their social life (vs. 24% globally). “Generally, I find the people rude,” says an expat
from Mexico. While 34% of expats state that their household income is not enough to
cover expenses (vs. 21% globally), Rome does do best in the Local Cost of Living Index (30th). However,
this only means rather mediocre results, with 39% of expats expressing their dissatisfaction with the
cost of living (vs. 36% globally).

64. Both Work and Private Life Are Tough for Expats in Seoul
Ranking 64th out of 66 cities in the Expat City Ranking 2020, Seoul lands among the bottom 3
worldwide, only ahead of Rome and Salmiya (Kuwait). Seoul performs worst in the Getting Settled
Index (64th). Almost half the expats (47%) say it is difficult to find new friends in Seoul (vs. 33%
globally), and only 48% feel at home in the city (vs. 64% globally). An expat from Germany
says: “Korea does not seem ready to embrace the idea of ‘foreigners’ ever really becoming ‘Koreans’.” Work
life does not look much better, with Seoul ranking 61st in the Urban Work Life Index: More than
half the survey respondents (54%) rate their local career opportunities negatively (vs. 34% globally).
Additionally, 37% are dissatisfied with their work-life balance (vs. 18% global average), and 38% rate
their working hours negatively (vs. 17% globally). Seoul ranks last worldwide in the Work-Life Balance
subcategory.
Seoul does just a little better in the Finance & Housing (51st) and Local Cost of Living (45th) Indices.
Only 19% of expats rate the local cost of living positively (vs. 46% globally), and over a third (35%) are
dissatisfied with their financial situation (vs. 21% globally).
On the bright side, Seoul performs best in the Quality of Urban Living Index (21st). The availability of
healthcare (7th) and the public transportation system (9th) are particularly good. An expat from the Philippines says that they appreciate “the high standard of technology, good facilities in hospitals, as well
as the transportation”. The majority of expats (92%) rates the availability of medical care positively (vs.
74% globally). “I like the accessible and affordable healthcare,” shares a US American expat. In fact,
nearly nine in ten expats (88%) rate South Korea’s quality of medical care positively (vs. 69% globally).

63. Milan Ranks Poorly across the Board
Coming in 63rd place in the overall Expat City Ranking 2020, Milan ends up among the bottom 10 for
the fourth year in a row; it comes only ahead of Seoul (64th), Rome (65th), and Salmiya (66th) in
2020. Milan performs particularly poorly in the Finance & Housing (61st) and the Urban Work Life
(57th) Indices. Just 46% of expats are satisfied with their financial situation (vs. 61% globally),
and 34% say that their household income is not enough to cover their expenses in Milan (vs. 21%
globally). More than three in five expats (62%) also rate the affordability
of housing negatively (vs. 41% globally). “It is difficult to find an apartment as an expat — a
nightmare,” says an expat from Ukraine. When it comes to their working life, 32% of survey
respondents are concerned about the local economy (vs. 18% globally). Maybe this is why only
33% rate their career opportunities positively (vs. 43% globally) and why another 23% are
dissatisfied with their jobs (vs. 18% globally).
The Getting Settled Index (31st) is Milan’s strongest point, with 66% of expats finding it easy to get
used to the local culture (vs. 61% globally). A US American expat says: “I like the food and the general
culture, which strives towards a healthy lifestyle.” However, 19% of respondents say that the local
residents are generally unfriendly (vs. 17% globally), and one-fifth (20%) states that people in
Milan are not friendly towards foreign residents (vs. 18% globally). Lastly, while 43% find it difficult to
live in Milan without speaking Italian (vs. 30% globally), 53% consider it at least an easy language to
learn (vs. 37% globally).

62. Nairobi Has the Worst Public Transportation System Worldwide
Overall, Nairobi comes 62nd in the Expat City Ranking 2020, placing among the bottom 5 destinations.
The city ranks especially low in the Quality of Urban Living Index (65th), just ahead of Salmiya in Kuwait
(66th). Kenya’s capital even ranks last for its public transportation system (66th), with 71% rating this
factor negatively (vs. 24% globally). A British expat points out: “The road infrastructure is not good in
Nairobi, so getting around can be difficult.” Nairobi also loses points for personal safety (64th), which
46% of survey respondents are dissatisfied with (vs. 9% globally). “Your personal safety is not always
guaranteed,” says a Dutch expat. Additionally, close to one in four expats (24%) are unhappy with the
availability of healthcare in Nairobi (vs. 13% globally), and 45% rate the urban environment negatively
(vs. 21% globally).
In the Quality of Urban Living Index Nairobi only stands out — in a positive way — for the local climate
and weather (93% happy vs. 64% globally). An Indian expat names “the weather and the warm friendly
people” as the highlights of his life in Nairobi. In fact, the city performs well in the Getting Settled Index
(20th). Nearly three in five respondents (58%) find it easy to make new friends (vs. 47% globally).
Nairobi also performs above the global average in the Finance & Housing Index (20th), with about six
in seven expats (85%) saying that it is easy to find housing (vs. 55% globally).
However, Kenya’s capital performs very poorly in the Urban Work Life Index (62nd), with only 48% of
respondents rating their job security positively (vs. 59% globally). Moreover, over half the expats are
dissatisfied with the local career opportunities (53% vs. 34% globally) and the state of the local
economy (55% vs. 18% globally).

61. Paris Is One of The Worst Cities Worldwide for Expats
Paris ranks 61st out of 66 cities in the Expat City Ranking 2020, performing especially poorly in the
Finance & Housing Index (62nd). About three in ten expats (29%) are dissatisfied with their financial
situation (vs. 21% globally), and only 19% of expats say it is easy to find housing (vs. 55% globally).
Additionally, 70% of expats describe housing in Paris as unaffordable (vs. 41% globally). “Rents are too
high, especially in comparison to the low salaries,” says an expat from Bulgaria.
Paris performs better in the Urban Work Life Index (32nd): 59% of expats are happy with their local
career opportunities (vs. 43% globally). With two in three expats (67%) rating the local economy
positively (vs. 63% globally), Paris also performs slightly above the average in this regard. An expat
from the US shares: “My job is fantastic, and I like the employee rights, as well as the relaxed work
environment, in France.”
However, Paris nearly lands among the bottom 10 in the Getting Settled Index (55th), with two in five
expats (40%) saying that the local residents are not friendly (vs. 17% globally). Well over half the expats
(56%) find it difficult to make new friends in Paris (vs. 33% globally). “In general, Parisians are angry,
complain too much, and smile too little. It is difficult to make local friends here, “ explains a Brazilian expat.
This might be why just 53% of expats are happy with their social life in Paris (vs. 59% globally).

60. Beautiful Weather in Johannesburg but Low Degree of Personal Safety
Placing 60th out of 66 cities, Johannesburg performs worst in the Quality of Urban Living Index
(64th). With the city coming last in the Safety & Politics subcategory (66th), 70% of expats rate their
feelings of personal safety negatively (vs. only 9% globally). Additionally, the city comes 65th for
transportation — just ahead of Nairobi (66th). Only 28% of expats view public transportation in
Johannesburg positively (vs. 66% globally), and a Norwegian expat says that “there is not a lot of local
transportation”. The South African city also performs poorly in the Urban Work Life Index
(58th). Johannesburg comes in at 64th place for the state of the local economy, and more than three
in five survey respondents (62%) rate its economy negatively (vs. 18% globally).
However, Johannesburg lands in the top 15 of the Finance & Housing Index (13th). In fact, 75% of
expats say it is easy to find housing (vs. 55% globally), and 47% find the housing affordable (vs. 41%
globally). Another upside that comes with living in this city is a factor in the Quality of Urban Living
Index: 91% of expats are happy with Johannesburg’s local climate (vs. 64% globally). A German expat
even thinks that “Johannesburg has the best weather in the world”.

59. Santiago de Chile — The Only Latin American City Listed in the Bottom 10
Coming in a disappointing 59th place out of 66 in the Expat City Ranking 2020, Santiago de Chile is the
only Latin American destination among the bottom 10.
The Chilean capital performs worst in the Quality of Urban Living Index (54th), mainly because of its
poor performance in the Health & Environment (58th) and Safety & Politics (59th) subcategories.
Expats in Santiago are particularly worried about political stability, which 57% rate negatively (vs. 17%
worldwide). “There are riots, protests, and social unrest everywhere,” a Venezuelan expat complains.
Moreover, respondents are concerned about the availability of healthcare (30% unhappy vs. 17%
globally), as well as its affordability (62% unhappy vs. 21% globally).
The Urban Work Life Index (52nd) is Santiago’s second-weakest point. While 58% of expats rate their
job security favorably — about the same as the global average (59%) — less than half (46%) judge the local economy positively (vs. 63% worldwide). They are also dissatisfied with their working conditions:
nearly three in ten (29%) complain about their work-life balance (vs. 18% globally).
Santiago de Chile lags behind in the Getting Settled Index (45th), too. Only 50% of expats feel at home
there (vs. 64% globally), and 36% describe the residents as unfriendly (vs. 17% worldwide). Lastly, while
it ranks 28th in the Finance & Housing Index, it only comes 53rd for the local cost of living. Among the
expats in Santiago, 68% are unhappy with the latter (vs. 36% globally).

58. Dublin Is Good for Your Career as an Expat, but Bad for Your Wallet
Dublin ranks 58th out of 66 in the Expat City Ranking 2020, coming last in the Finance & Housing Index
(66th) and also performing very poorly in the Local Cost of Living Index (64th). More than three in
four expats (76%) say it is difficult to find housing (vs. 27% globally), and 88% find local housing
unaffordable (vs. 41% globally). Additional, 26% are dissatisfied with their financial situation (vs. 21%
globally). A Portuguese expat explains that they only see “extremely bad-quality housing or unaffordable
prices, even for normal apartments”.
The Quality of Urban Living Index is another area where Dublin performs poorly (61st), in particular in
the Health & Environment (65th) and the Leisure & Climate (62nd) subcategories. In fact, 38% of
survey respondents rate the availability of healthcare negatively (vs. 13% globally), and 46% think that
medical care in Dublin is of low quality (vs. 16% globally). A Russian expat explains: “To receive a good
healthcare treatment, the best option as an expat is leaving to get it elsewhere — not here!”
On the bright side, Dublin ranks 18th in the Getting Settled Index: the majority of respondents
says that the local residents are generally friendly (90% vs. 68% globally) and warm towards foreign
residents (86% vs. 66% globally). Expats also find it easy to get used to the local culture (71% satisfied
vs. 61% globally). However, it is the Urban Work Life Index (7th) that Dublin really excels in.
Expats rank the city first worldwide for local career opportunities — 82% are happy with this factor
(vs. 43% globally). Dublin also performs well in the Job Security and Work-Life Balance subcategories
(15th for both), which might be among the reasons why 69% of expats are satisfied with their jobs in
general (vs. 65% globally).

57. Hong Kong Is the Worst City in the World for the Cost of Living and Political Stability
Ranking 57th out of 66 cities in total, Hong Kong lands in the bottom 10 of the Expat City Ranking
2020.It is even voted the worst city in the world for the local cost of living, with an expat from Denmark
explaining: “There are extremely high costs of living, for example, for schooling and groceries.” In fact,80%
of expats in Hong Kong are unhappy with the local cost of living, compared to just 36% of survey
respondents worldwide. This result is also reflected in the Finance & Housing Index
(45th), where Hong Kong ranks second-to-last worldwide for the affordability of housing (65th).
Only Dublin (66th) is rated worse. More than nine in ten expats (94%) find housing in Hong Kong
unaffordable (vs. 41% globally). The Urban Work Life Index (59th) is another sore point, particularly
when it comes to the Work-Life Balance subcategory (61st): more than one in three expats in Hong
Kong (34%) are unhappy with their working hours, which is twice the global average
(17%). Moreover, 43% are dissatisfied with the state of the local economy (vs. 18% globally).
While Hong Kong has an average performance in the Quality of Urban Living Index (45th) in general,
safety and security seem to be a real concern: the city is rated worst in the world for political stability,
with 69% of expats being worried about this factor (vs. 17% globally). The city performs best in the
Getting Settled Index (40th), though still below average. It comes in 26th place in the Friends & Socializing subcategory: almost half the expats (49%) say it is easy to find new friends (vs. 47%
globally), and 63% are happy with their social life in Hong Kong (vs. 59% globally).

- Advertisement -

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More