According to a recent survey, expats’ preferred choice for living and working overseas in 2021 is Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. Malaga, a port city in southern Spain, and Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, came in second and third, respectively. These three cities are all geographically distinct, which may explain why expats like them.
InterNations, an online expat community with over 4 million global members, also ranked New York, Moscow, and Paris among the bottom ten locations for expats to live and work in a survey of 57 countries.
More than 1,200 people took part in the survey, which was taken in January but released in September, representing 174 nationalities and living in 186 countries or territories. The respondents were asked to score their happiness across four primary categories to determine the best and worst cities for expats: quality of life, ease of settling there, personal finance, and working overseas.
A healthy environment and reliable WiFi infrastructure were included in the quality of life category. The respondents had to consider linguistic hurdles as well as the friendliness of the locals when deciding how easy it would be to settle there. Personal finance dealt with issues such as inexpensive health care, which was a major concern owing to the pandemic. Working overseas also meant having a secure career and a solid local economy.
Most expats who chose the top cities claimed it’s easy to settle there and that the locals are kind. Some people choose Dubai and Malaga because of their great quality of life, while others prefer Kuala Lumpur and Malaga because of their low cost of living.
A massive 85 percent of respondents stated they are content with life in Kuala Lumpur in general. Malaga had an 86 percent rate and Dubai had a 72 percent rate.
Sydney, Australia (4th), Singapore (5th), Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (6th), Prague, Czech Republic (7th), Mexico City, Mexico (8th), Basel, Switzerland (9th), and Madrid, Spain (9th) were among the top ten cities (10th).
Italian cities Milan and Rome, as well as Johannesburg, South Africa, were at the bottom of the list. Rome was deemed “unfriendly,” with 31% of expats feeling the city’s residents dislike visitors. Expats in Milan thought their work-life balance was unsatisfactory.
Similarly, the majority of expats in Johannesburg gave the public transportation system a dismal rating and expressed concern about personal safety. New York came in at number 48, Moscow at number 49, and Paris at number 51.