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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Lisbon: Happy Expats but Few Career Opportunities

Lisbon ranks 4th out of 50 cities in the Expat City Ranking 2022. It is among the best cities for quality of life, ease of settling in, and personal finance, but expats view their career prospects negatively.

Lisbon ranks 4th out of 50 in the Expat City Ranking 2022 and is one of the cities where expats are happiest with their life abroad (86% happy vs. 71% globally). Only expats in Valencia are even happier. It is also one of the best-rated cities in the Quality of Life Index (5th). Almost all expats (98%) are happy with the climate & weather (vs. 62% globally), ranking the city first in this regard. In fact, 17% moved to the Portuguese capital for a better quality of life (vs. 7% globally), and they are not disappointed. “Everything is great here — the climate, the people, the food, and the nature,” says an Indian expat. Expats also highly appreciate the culture & nightlife (87% happy vs. 67% globally) and the opportunities for recreational sports (94% vs. 81% globally). On top of that, more than nine out of ten feel safe in Lisbon (94% vs. 81% globally) and find it easy to get around on foot and by bicycle (93% vs. 77% globally).

Lisbon also ranks fifth in the Ease of Settling In Index, with particularly great results in the Local Friendliness (4th) and Culture & Welcome (2nd) Subcategories. “I love the hospitable, patient, and easy-going Portuguese people. They are helpful, kind, and polite,” says a US American expat. In fact, expats describe the local residents as generally friendly (82% vs. 66% globally), find it easy to get used to the local culture (81% vs. 62% globally), and are happy with their social life (69% vs. 59% globally). Lastly, Lisbon also lands in fifth place in the Personal Finance Index, mainly due to expats’ high satisfaction with the cost of living (69% happy vs. 45% globally). However, just 71% say that their disposable household income is enough or more than enough to lead a comfortable life, about the same as the global average (72%).

This might be related to the fact that 27% of expats in Lisbon feel that based on industry, qualifications, and role, they are not paid fairly for their work (vs. 20% globally). “Wages in general are very poor in Portugal,” says an Irish expat. Since they also rate the state of the local economy negatively (25% vs. 17% globally), the city only ranks 44th in the Salary & Job Security Subcategory. What is more, 28% find that moving to Lisbon has not improved their career prospects (vs. 18% globally). For this factor, the city ranks second to last worldwide, only ahead of Valencia (50th). However, thanks to the Work & Leisure Subcategory (9th), Lisbon still ranks 36th in the Working Abroad Index overall. More than seven in ten (72%) rate their work-life balance positively (vs. 62% globally).

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