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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

City Ranking Factors

In 2021, more than 12,000 expatriates — representing as many as 174 nationalities and living in 186 countries or territories across the globe — provided information on a wide range of topics related to life abroad.

Short Methodology

To identify the best and worst cities for expats around the globe, the respondents rated more than 25 different aspects of urban life abroad on a scale of one to seven. The rating process emphasized the participants’ personal satisfaction with these aspects, considering both emotional topics (e.g., the ease of finding friends) and more factual aspects (e.g., the availability of healthcare) with equal weight.

The respondents’ ratings of the individual factors were then bundled in various combinations for a total of 13 subcategories (e.g., Friends & Socializing, Health & Environment). Their mean values were used to draw up four topical indices: Quality of Urban Living, Getting Settled, Urban Work Life, and Finance & Housing. These were further averaged in order to rank all cities worldwide that had the required number of participants for our minimum sample size (see below).

In addition to the four topical indices listed above, the survey also includes a Local Cost of Living Index. However, it does not factor into the overall ranking to avoid overrepresenting financial aspects.

For a city to be featured in the Expat City Ranking 2021, a sample size of at least 50 survey participants per city was required. In 2021, 57 cities met this requirement. The top 10 cities for expats include Kuala Lumpur (1st), Málaga, Dubai, Sydney, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Prague, Mexico City, Basel, and Madrid (10th).