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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Expats Give Austria Its Worst Ranking Yet

Expats in Austria enjoy a healthy life with great opportunities to travel, however, finding friends or even love can be a struggle.
  • In the overall ranking, Austria drops from 24th in 2018 to 37th in 2019.
  • It’s the 2nd-best country for health and well-being.
  • Austria is 3rd from the bottom in the Ease of Settling In Index.
  • 41% of single expats in Austria find it very difficult to date in the country.
  • 20% of respondents are unhappier after moving abroad (vs. 16% globally).

Austria Faces Decline in Family Life Index

Expats rank Austria in the bottom half of the overall ranking for the first time since the survey began in 2014. Austria drops 13 places from 24th out of 68 countries in 2018 to 37th out of 64 in 2019’s overall ranking: a fall which can be partly attributed to its similar drop in the Family Life Index (from 2nd out of 50 countries in 2018 to 15th out of 36 in 2019). Austria, previously behind only Finland for family life, has been overtaken by neighbor Germany, among others. It has particularly lost ground for the factors family life in general (from 4th to 23rd) and options for children’s education (from 3rd to 19th).

Only 68% of expat parents in Austria in 2019 still believe the country has a good quality of education, compared to 81% in 2018. In addition, only around seven out of ten (71%) find that there’s a friendly attitude towards families with children (vs. 81% globally).

There’s a more organized yet slower pace of life with more developed family values.

However, Austria’s family life does still have its positives, with the country placing 6th out of 36 destinations in the Costs of Childcare & Education subcategory. In fact, 39% of parents in Austria find education completely easy to afford, which is more than double the global average (19%). Austria also ranks fourth for children’s health and eighth for their general well-being. A British expat claims Austria has “a more organized yet slower pace of life with more developed family values”.

A Healthy Life Does Not Mean a Happy Life

Austria is no longer the best country in the world for health and well-being: it loses its 2018 top spot to Finland, ranking 2nd out of 64 countries in 2019. Nevertheless, expats in Austria are still particularly happy with the quality of the environment: 95% say they are happy with this factor, compared to the global average of 67%. An expat from India comments that “the quality of the air and the water is very good in comparison to other developing or developed nations”.

The quality of the air and the water is very good.

Down one spot from 2018, Austria ranks 6th out of 64 countries in the Quality of Life Index as a whole in 2019. Expats are pleased with Austria’s travel and transportation opportunities — the country ranks seventh in the respective subcategory — with 91% of expats satisfied with the transportation infrastructure (vs. 68% globally). Close to seven in ten (69%) even give it the best possible rating. Its geographical position also proves popular, with one Jordanian expat particularly liking “the central location of Austria in Europe that makes it easy and cheap to travel around”.

However, despite Austria’s great quality of life, expats aren’t happy. Austria ranks in the bottom 10 countries for personal happiness (56th out of 64 countries) in 2019. This result can be partly attributed to the country’s even lower ranking for respondents’ satisfaction with the relationship with their partner or spouse (60th). In fact, it would seem that Austria might not be a great destination for all things love: while just 24% of single expats worldwide find it very hard to date in their respective host country, over two out of five expats in Austria (41%) say the same.

Language Limits Settling In

Expats in Austria struggle to settle in: the nation ranks third from the bottom (62nd out of 64) in the Ease of Settling In Index for 2019. Only Denmark (63rd) and Kuwait (64th) perform worse. Over one-third of expats in Austria (35%) are unhappy with the general friendliness of the population (vs. 16% globally), while 38% believe there isn’t a friendly attitude towards foreign residents, which is double the global average of 19%.

It’s very hard to get by with basic German skills.

The country also ranks in the bottom 10 of the Finding Friends subcategory (58th), with almost three in five expats (58%) finding it hard to make local friends (vs. 39% globally). What’s more, 41% would describe their friends as mostly other expats, compared to 34% globally.

Expats’ struggle to make local friends and settle in could be due to the language barrier: when asked about their concerns prior to moving to Austria, 63% of expats say they were worried about this topic, compared to 37% globally. A Canadian expat points out that it is “very hard to get by with basic German skills, but it’s hard to learn the language”. Of those expats in Austria who say they are generally unhappy, 38% mentioned the language as a factor, and an even higher 58% bemoan the lack of socializing opportunities (vs. a global 23% and 45%, respectively).

Steady Economy Satisfies Expats

Austria climbs into the top 10 of the Economy & Job Security subcategory (7th). While its GDP growth has slightly slowed down in 2019, so too did the nation’s inflation, unemployment, and national debt, which may help explain why 87% of expats in Austria are happy with the state of the economy (vs. 63% worldwide).

However, there still seems to be room for improvement regarding career prospects and job satisfaction, as the country ranks 47th in the respective subcategory.

Average Costs with Average Income

Austria ranks in the mid-field of the Cost of Living Index (30th), with half the respondents (50%) rating costs positively (compared to 47% globally). Similarly, an only slightly above-average share of expats in Austria feel that their disposable household income is not enough to cover daily costs (24% vs. 23% globally).

Further Reading