City Ranking Methodology
In 2022, a total of 11,970 expats took part, representing 177 nationalities and living in 181 countries or territories across the world. Thanks to their insights, the Expat City Ranking 2022 offers an overview of the 50 best- and worst-rated cities for expats worldwide. The following report explores the results in greater detail in several areas, from the quality of life to personal finance, from working abroad to the ease of settling in a foreign city. It also features the recently introduced Expat Essentials Index for the first time, covering the subcategories of Housing, Digital Life, Language, and Admin Topics.
What Topics Make Up the City Ranking?
To identify the best and worst cities for expats around the globe, the respondents rated up to 56 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 local 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 16 subcategories (e.g., Work & Leisure, Safety & Security). Their mean values were used to draw up five topical indices: Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Personal Finance, and Expat Essentials. 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). These five indices, as well as the responses to the question “All things considered, how happy are you with your life abroad in general?”, were then averaged to arrive at the overall city ranking.
Please also note: The ratings are supposed to compare the participants’ individual satisfaction with various factors. They do not compare related facts from external sources. For example, the factor “personal safety” measures how safe expats feel in their respective destination. However, it does not refer to actual crime rates provided by local law enforcement.
The resulting ranking is also not meant to be an endorsement of any specific city. It is rather a comparison of how expats rate their everyday life abroad based on their subjective score. Moreover, the indices do not cover each and every potential aspect of living abroad. For instance, the questionnaire asked respondents to give their views on selected factors such as political stability, unrestricted online access, and the general ability to freely express themselves and their opinions. But the vast field of political issues — e.g., questions of censorship or human rights — is not explored in any depth in this survey.
To be featured in the Expat City Ranking 2022, a sample size of at least 50 survey participants per city was required. In 2022, 50 cities met this requirement. The top 10 are Valencia (1st), Dubai, Mexico City, Lisbon, Madrid, Bangkok, Basel, Melbourne, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore (10th).