This European Port Is the World’s Best City for Expats

Two U.S. cities moved into the top 20 of the 2022 Expat City Rankings

An aerial view of Valencia, Spain, which was just ranked the world's best city for expats
Valenica, Spain, scored highly for quality of life in a recent expat survey
Giuseppe Buccola / Unsplash

If you leave your home country to live abroad, head to Spain: The port city of Valencia is the best city in the world for expats, according to the Expat City Ranking 2022 by InterNations.

The rankings, overseen by the world’s largest expat community (4.5 million members globally), are conducted via surveys about working and living abroad. This year, there were 11,970 respondents and 50 cities analyzed through five different metrics: Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Personal Finance and Expat Essentials Index (which covers digital life, admin topics, housing and language).

Valencia landed the top spot, again, thanks, in part, to ranking first in Quality of Life. Expats also gave the southeastern Spanish city high marks for public transportation, recreational sports, safety, social life and cost of living (where the city also came in first). If there were any complaints, it’s that it’s apparently not great for working — Valencia finished dead last in career prospects.

Some other findings from the survey:

  • Dubai, Mexico City, Lisbon and Madrid rounded out the top 5. The bottom 5? Hong Kong, Istanbul, Paris, Frankfurt am Main and, in 50th place, Johannesburg, where respondents complained of low quality of life and working life.
  • While Mexico City was first in the Ease of Settling In, they had low marks for quality of life, environment/climate and safety subcategories — a whopping 35% of respondents felt unhappy with personal safety (vs. 9% globally).
  • Paris (48th place) obviously did well for dining and culture, but expats there found it difficult to find housing and said costs were too high. Respondents also said they did not feel welcome, ranking 45th in that category.
  • The United States was represented by two cities: Miami (12th) and New York City (16th), though both cities did poorly with health and well-being. However, NYC scored top marks worldwide for Career Prospects and Work Culture & Satisfaction subcategories.


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