The Best Cities for Expats: Ottawa Ranks First In The World And Glasgow The Best in Europe

International mobility has increased significantly in the last few years, with more and more people residing outside their country of birth than ever before. Professionals, both young and old, are moving abroad in search of a better quality of life, career opportunities, and education. Expats currently account for 0.7% of the global population. And a new study, commissioned by German online mortgage broker, LoanLink, has revealed the best cities around the world for an expat.

The research found that Ottawa, in Canada, ranks first as the best city for an expat, featuring the best Work-Life balance, an impressive start-up ecosystem, the highest levels of safety among its citizens, a very affordable house price to income ratio and being seen as a friendly city overall.

The study analyses 70 cities from around the world for a total of 24 criteria across four categories: Economics, Experience, Environment and Urbanisation, and Family and Society. The criteria within each category define or suggest a high living standard, such as Average Earnings, Healthcare Expenditure, Traffic Congestion, and even Hours of Sunshine. For those fortunate enough to be able to relocate to their country of choice, this index includes a full range of factors to help individuals, couples, and families select the best city to take their next steps.

Global Top 10 Ranking Table 2019

Likewise, Canberra, Australia, ranks second overall on the index. The Australian capital has an excellent Work-Life Balance, with a 38-hour working week. Ranking third, Wellington, in New Zealand, closes the podium. This city offers an affordable and effective public transport, safety and a relatively low rent prices.

In mainland Europe, Bern, Switzerland, ranks sixth. The Swiss capital scores full marks for Average Earnings, but ranks poorly for Friendliness. Madrid, Spain, can be found in seven place with a thriving startup ecosystem, job opportunities and ranking high on the environment performance index.

Elsewhere in the world, Washington D.C. ranks highest in the United States for expats. The capital also boasts a thriving Start-Up Ecosystem, along with high Healthcare Expenditure, low Air Pollution, and an appealing ratio of House Price to Income. And in Africa, Cape Town, South Africa, ranks last on the index. While Cape Town has a strong House Price to Income Ratio, the city has poor Safety, Traffic Congestion, and Unemployment.

Glasgow and Edinburgh, best cities for expats in the UK

Ranking five and twelve respectively, Glasgow and Edinburgh boast high scores for House Price to Income Ratio and Price of Food. The Work-Life Balance is particularly good in Glasgow.

UK Ranking Table 2019

The capital, London, doesn’t do really well in the index, however. Home to an impressive number of co-working spaces, investors, and venture funding: London ranks third on the index for Start-Up Ecosystem, but 43 overall. The UK capital may be the ideal place to launch a business, but for expats searching for an outdoors lifestyle, London’s minimal Hours of Sunshine and high Traffic Congestion may not appeal. Furthermore, the capital scores poorly for Experience, with high costs of rent and food.

The UK scores poorly for Average Sunshine Hours, with Glasgow ranking last in the UK for this criteria. The UK ranks well on the index for Air Pollution. Edinburgh ranks first in the UK and London ranks last.

However, not everything is bad news. In fact, the UK ranks ahead of Australia and New Zealand for Healthcare Expenditure.