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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Geneva: The Highest Cost of Living Worldwide

Geneva performs worst out of the four Swiss cities in the Expat City Ranking 2022, landing on a mediocre 34th place out of 50 cities.

Geneva even ranks last worldwide for the local cost of living (50th): 80% consider it too high, compared to 35% globally — 31% even find it extremely high (vs. 8% globally). While 73% still say that their disposable household income is about enough or more than enough to lead a comfortable life, which is about the same as the global average (72%), the city still ends up in a low 43rd place in the Personal Finance Index. Since housing is not only hard to afford (73% unhappy vs. 43% globally) but also to find (63% vs. 27% globally), Geneva comes 47th out of 50 in the Housing Subcategory. Other than that, the Expat Essentials Index (34th) does not look too bad. Expats are, for example, happy with the access to high-speed internet at home (89% happy vs. 79% globally) and find it easy to deal with the local bureaucracy/authorities (54% vs. 40% globally).

Geneva performs a little worse in the Ease of Settling In Index (36th), with 32% describing the local residents as generally unfriendly (vs. 17% globally). Maybe this is one reason why more than a third of expats (34%) are unhappy with their social life in Geneva, compared to 26% globally.

Similar to the other Swiss cities, Geneva does well in the Working Abroad (23rd) and Quality of Life (17th) Indices. It even comes third worldwide in the Safety & Security Subcategory: expats are satisfied with the political stability (89% happy vs. 64% globally) and feel that they can openly express themselves and their opinions (79% vs. 64% globally). They also appreciate the natural environment (96% happy vs. 83% globally), as well as the air quality (80% vs. 65% globally), and 86% believe that the government supports policies to protect the environment (vs. 61% globally). On the downside, Geneva ranks 44th in the Leisure Options Subcategory. While 84% rate the opportunities for recreational sports positively (vs. 75% globally), they are dissatisfied with the culinary variety and dining options (17% unhappy vs. 12% globally), as well as the city’s culture and nightlife (28% vs. 16% globally).

Further Reading