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Dream Destinations 2016: The Ten Most Popular Cities among Expats

Munich, 30 November 2015

Munich, 30 November 2015 — InterNations, the world’s leading social network and information site for people who live and work abroad, asked more than 14,000 expats around the world to name the city they are dreaming of moving to. New York came out on top, closely followed by London, Barcelona, Sydney and San Francisco. Also in the top 10 are Paris, Singapore, Dubai, Amsterdam and Rome.

English Rules the World

Almost half of the most popular 50 cities among expats are located in English-speaking countries. Apart from the clear winners New York, London, and Sydney, other English-speaking destinations receive high ratings from expats around the world: Melbourne (#11), Vancouver (#13), Los Angeles (#14), Auckland (#16) and Miami (#17) all made it into the top 20. Seattle, Boston, Dublin and Edinburgh, however, rank fairly low towards the end of the list.

Men Dream of Singapore, Women Want to Move to Rome

Although New York is the most popular destination among expats in general, responses vary widely according to such factors as gender, age group, and nationality. Both men and women prefer the "Big Apple" to all other places worldwide, but the lower ranks of their respective top 10 vary: While women dream of moving to Rome (#7 for female respondents), Berlin (#9) or Cape Town (#10), these three cities are missing from the ten favorites among the male participants. For the latter, Singapore (#5), Dubai (#7), and Vancouver (#9) turn out to be more desirable destinations of choice.

Study in Tokyo, Retire in Hawaii?

Age also plays an important part in determining a city’s popularity: everybody’s darling New York is especially beloved among expatriates in their late 20s. Younger expats aged 25 or below have a preference for Tokyo, which does far better among this age group than among older participants. Mature expats, on the other hand, are longing for the sunny tropics: compared to the total survey population, the 50+ generation is particularly fond of Bangkok and Honolulu as the dream destinations for best agers.

Home Sweet Home in Canada and Australia

Segmenting the survey results by nationality, one cannot help wondering if most expats are not at least a little bit homesick. Many nationalities seem to be dreaming of home instead of exotic destinations: For Canadian respondents, the city of their dreams is Vancouver, with Toronto following on fifth place. Next to New York (#1), Sydney and Melbourne rank second and third, respectively, among Australian expats, and Amsterdam is the third-favorite city of Dutch expatriates, right after New York (#1) and Singapore (#2).

Other respondents would simply prefer to move within their adopted country: those living in the US, for instance, call San Francisco their dream destination. Expats in Australia would opt for a life in Sydney first, while expatriates living Italy cannot resist the manifold charms of Rome. 

About InterNations

With more than 5.3 million members in 420 cities around the world, InterNations is the largest global community and a source of information for people who live and work abroad. InterNations offers global and local networking and socializing, both online and face to face. At around 6,000 events and activities per month, expatriates have the opportunity to meet other global minds. Online services include discussion forums and helpful articles with personal expat experiences, tips, and information about life abroad. Membership is by approval only to ensure we remain a community of trust. InterNations is part of the New Work SE, a group of brands that offer products and services for a better working life.

Find more information about InterNations on our press page or in our magazine.

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Country-specific versions are available in different languages in the download section at the end of each press release and upon request.