taipei taiwan skyline

The Best And Worst Cities For Expats To Live In 2020


Asian cities dominate this year’s list. Countries at the bottom are not what you’d expect.

png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAABAQMAAAAl21bKAAAAA1BMVEUAAP+KeNJXAAAAAXRSTlMAQObYZgAAAAlwSFlzAAAOxAAADsQBlSsOGwAAAApJREFUCNdjYAAAAAIAAeIhvDMAAAAASUVORK5CYII= - The Best And Worst Cities For Expats To Live In 2020

Taipei emerges as the best destination for expats worldwide in this year’s Expat Insider Survey by Internations. 

Joining Taipei at the top are fellow Asian cities, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh, and Singapore. Montreal also claims one of the top five spots. 

At the bottom of the list is Kuwait at 82nd place. Other cities rated as the worst performers are Rome (81st), Milan (80th), Lagos (79th), and Paris (78th).  

Taipei on top

The capital of Taiwan gaining the top spot comes as no surprise. The city was included in the rankings only last year but it already  managed to claim first place. 

Expats are highly satisfied with the quality of urban living in Taipei. They are happy with the local transportation system and the availability of healthcare services.

Taipei was also rated well in terms of its finance and housing. The local cost of living was deemed satisfactory by expats, with a lot of them content with their financial situation while being settled in the city.

A common struggle among expats living in Taipei is learning the local language. However, they said that the locals are friendly and sociable which easens the struggle.

Asian and European cities assert dominance

Four Asian cities ⁠— Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh, and Singapore ⁠— occupy the top four spots in the Expat City Rankings.

A common plus factor among these four are impressive finance and housing systems. These four were also noted to be highly welcoming cities, making it easy for expats to settle down.

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European cities performed well this year as well. Five cities — Lisbon (6th), Barcelona (7th), Zug (8th), the Hague (9th), and Basel (10th) — claimed the remaining spots in the top ten. Unlike the Asian top four, the selling point of these cities for expats gravitate more on the quality of life. 

Kuwait’s disappointing streak 

Mirroring Taipei’s impressive streak is Kuwait retaining its place as the worst performer in the Expat City Rankings. Respondents said that getting started in Kuwait is a challenging task. 

On top of this, they also said that the quality of urban living and work life are equally terrible. The housing in Taiwan was also reported to be expensive.

What probably attracts expats to settle in Kuwait is finance where the city was rated as among the top performers (7th) among all the cities in the list. 

How the cities are ranked

The survey, conducted in 2019, asked over 20,000 expats worldwide to rate their respective host country based on 25 different aspects. The ratings are grouped into four categories:

  • Quality of Urban Living
  • Getting Settled
  • Urban Work
  • Finance & Housing

The average of the 25 ratings based on these groupings created the Expat City Rankings. 

Apart from the ratings, Internations interviewed the participants to better understand why they rated their host country the way they did. 

To learn more about the insights gained for each country, check out the full report.

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