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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Kuala Lumpur: Expats Feel Well Paid and Supported

Readily available housing, low costs, great social lives — are there also downsides to life abroad in Kuala Lumpur?

Kuala Lumpur comes 8th out of 49 in the Expat City Ranking 2023. It performs best in the Personal Finance Index (4th). Expats are very satisfied with both their financial situation (5th) and the general cost of living (4th). What’s more, 86% say that their disposable household income is enough or more than enough to lead a comfortable life (vs. 73% globally).

On the other hand, Kuala Lumpur performs worst in the Quality of Life Index (38th). Among other rating factors, public transportation isn’t easily available (43rd), and 25% of expats don’t feel safe getting around on foot or by bicycle (vs. 13% globally). Safety & Security (46th) is another low point, with political stability (43rd) being a particular concern.

The Ease of Settling In Index (12th) reveals more positive aspects of expat life in Kuala Lumpur. It ranks 8th in the Finding Friends Subcategory, as expats are very happy with their social lives (10th) and have a great support network (6th). In the Working Abroad Index (30th), 80% feel fairly paid for their work (vs. 62% globally), with the city ranking 1st globally for this factor.

Expat Essentials (5th) is yet another index where Kuala Lumpur excels. It even ranks 4th in the Housing Subcategory, since expats find accommodation both affordable (3rd) and easy to find (5th). The city also does very well in the Language Subcategory (3rd): expats say they can easily live there without speaking the official language(s). Overall, 81% of expats are happy with their life in Kuala Lumpur, compared to 72% globally.

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