Join now
Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Berlin: The German Capital Offers Expats a Rocky Start

From unfriendly locals to a tricky language, expats in Berlin face a number of challenges.

Berlin places 45th out of 49 in the Expat City Ranking 2023. It’s the place where expats have the hardest start worldwide, with Berlin placing last in the Expat Essentials Index (49th).

Germany’s capital ranks last for Digital Life in general and for receiving high-speed internet at home, specifically (both 49th). What’s more, 43% find it hard to pay without cash, over five times the global average (8%). Berlin is also found among the bottom 10 for Admin Topics (45th) and Language (43rd). And a staggering 78% say it’s difficult for expats to find housing (vs. 31% globally)!

Berlin is also among the hardest places for expats to expand their social life, according to the Ease of Settling In Index (48th) — only Vienna (49th) receives a worse result here! The city’s inhabitants are considered the second least friendly population (48th). Maybe that’s why 39% of expats do not feel at home in Berlin, almost double the global average (20%). And 57% find it hard to make local friends (vs. 36% globally). It's hardly surprising then that Berlin’s expats are also among the unhappiest worldwide (47th).

Berlin does slightly better, but not great, for Working Abroad (24th). A highlight is the local job market (12th), and 83% appreciate the state of the economy (vs. 62% globally). Yet, for overall job satisfaction (40th), Berlin again ranks among the bottom 10.

Berlin receives rather average results for Personal Finance (28th) and Quality of Life (24th). However, the latter is at least one area where Berlin achieves some top rankings: expats praise the availability of green goods and services like renewable energy or organic food (5th) and its famous culture and nightlife (4th). In fact, 90% enjoy Berlin’s cultural scene (vs. 68% globally), and 85% appreciate the capital’s urban environment (vs. 67% globally).

Further Reading