The World’s 20 Best Cities To Live (You Won’t Believe What Won In The US)

InterNations—the world’s largest expat community—has just released its Expat City Ranking 2022, a list of the best and worst places to live. The list of 50 cities reflected how happy (and unhappy) expats have been living and working abroad in the last year.

In the new Expat City Ranking 2022, Valencia, Spain came in number one, followed by Dubai, Mexico City, Lisbon, Madrid, Bangkok, Basel, Melbourne, Abu Dhabi and Singapore, rounding out the top 10 cities for expats to live.

Two U.S. cities ranked in the world’s top 20 places to live, and the winners might surprise you. Miami ranked number 12, followed closely by New York City at number 16. Overall, expats in both U.S. cities were happy with the work culture, but struggled with the health care system.

Coming in at the bottom on the list was Johannesburg at number 50—making it the world’s worst city in the world to live. Frankfurt came in number 49, followed by Paris at 48. Istanbul, Hong Kong, Hamburg, Milan, Vancouver, Tokyo and Rome rounded out the list of the world’s worst cities to live.

According to InterNations, Valencia—the world’s best city to live—topped not only the overall Expat City Ranking 2022, it also ranked number one in the Quality of Life Index. Expats raved about the affordable public transportation, the opportunities for recreational sports and the safety. The Spanish city also fared well for ease of settling in, while expats say they feel at home and express happiness with their social life.

That’s not all: Valencia also ranked third in the Personal Finance Index, even placing first for cost of living. The areas in the Expat City Ranking where Valencia didn’t do well: the Working Abroad Index (where it ranked 41st out of 50) and Career Prospects (where it ranked dead last).

In the United States, Miami came out on top, ranking 12 out of 50 cities. The city performed best in the Ease of Settling In Index (ranking 10th). Expats also ranked the city highly (number 6) in the Culture & Welcome Subcategory. The city also performed well in the Expat Essentials Index (12th), and expats were happy with their personal career opportunities and felt that the local business culture encouraged creativity and thinking outside of the box.

The downsides: One in four expats were unhappy with their working hours, and the city did not do well in the Personal Finance (37th) or Quality of Life (38th) Indices. Another lowlight for Miami: the Health & Well-Being Subcategory (49th). “The health system and insecurity make me crazy,” said one Spanish expat shares.

New York City—which came in number 16—did well in the Working Abroad Index (ranking 3rd). The city also ranked first worldwide in both the Career Prospects and Work Culture & Satisfaction Subcategories. Expats were also happy with New York City’s local job market and their personal career opportunities. “There are many opportunities for anyone who is prepared to work,” said one South African expat.

The big downsides for New York City: health and well-being, as well as personal finances. “It is expensive, you need big savings to live here,” said one expat from the Philippines.

At the bottom of the list, expats in Johannesburg were disappointed with the low quality of life and their working life, while Frankfurt and Paris fared poorly in the Ease of Settling In Index, as well as the Expat Essentials Index. Expats reported that they struggled financially in all three cities.

Read on for the list of the 20 best and the 10 worst places to live. You can view the complete list here, along with comments from survey respondents.

The World’s 2o Best Cities to Live

  1. Valencia, Spain
  2. Dubai
  3. Mexico City, Mexico
  4. Lisbon, Portugal
  5. Madrid, Spain
  6. Bangkok, Thailand
  7. Basel, Switzerland
  8. Melbourne, Australia
  9. Abu Dhabi
  10. Singapore
  11. Tallinn, Estonia
  12. Miami
  13. Sydney, Australia
  14. Barcelona, Spain
  15. Nairobi, Kenya
  16. New York City
  17. Copenhagen, Denmark
  18. Lausanne, Switzerland
  19. Toronto, Canada
  20. Zurich, Switzerland

The World’s 10 Worst Cities to Live

  1. Johannesburg, South Africa (ranked 50 out of 50 countries overall)
  2. Frankfurt, Germany (ranked 49 overall)
  3. Paris, France (ranked 48 overall)
  4. Istanbul, Turkey (ranked 47 overall)
  5. Hong Kong (ranked 46 overall)
  6. Hamburg, Germany (ranked 45 overall)
  7. Milan, Italy (ranked 44 overall)
  8. Vancouver, Canada (ranked 43 overall)
  9. Tokyo, Japan (ranked 42 overall)
  10. Rome, Italy (ranked 41 overall)


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