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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Hamburg: Where Expats Are Unhappiest with Their Social Life

It’s not just Hamburg’s weather that puts a frown on expats’ faces ...

Hamburg comes 46th out of 49 in the Expat City Ranking 2023. And it’s the place where expats feel the second unhappiest overall (48th). Only Vancouver does worse. A shocking 41% aren’t satisfied with their social life (vs. 25% globally), and 35% don’t have a personal support network (vs. 24% globally). Close to three in five (61%) also say it’s hard to make local friends (vs. 36% globally), leaving Hamburg in the bottom 5 of the Ease of Settling In Index (46th).

And it’s not easy to get started in Hamburg either. Far from it: the city ranks 47th in the Expat Essentials Index. It can be found in the bottom 10 for the ease of finding housing (46th) and getting by without speaking the local language (40th). It places second to last — after Berlin — for making payments without cash (48th), and 61% find it hard to deal with the local bureaucracy (vs. 38% globally).

Expats’ unhappiness is also fueled by the rainy and cold climate and weather (49th), another factor where Hamburg ranks last. The Northern German city also disappoints with limited opportunities to travel (42nd) and a bottom 10 ranking for the difficult access to healthcare services (42nd). This leaves Hamburg with a mediocre spot for Quality of Life (34th).

Survey respondents are more satisfied with their job life. In fact, Hamburg receives its only top 10 ranking for job security (4th), and 67% are impressed with the local job market (vs. 47% globally). However, 15% don’t see a purpose in their work, almost twice the global average (8%) — and the city also ranks in the bottom 10 for overall job satisfaction (41st). All in all, this lands Hamburg in a so-so 25th place for Working Abroad. And its results for Personal Finance (27th) are also nothing to write home about.

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