World’s Worst – And Best – Cities For Expats


The list of worst city destinations for expats holds no surprises, according to the latest survey.

The most challenging places to live are mainly in war zones, battered by natural disasters or in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Expat consultancy Mercers researched 231 cities around the world to come up with the rankings.

Most of the top 10 favourite destinations are in Switzerland or Germany.

Top of the list is Vienna, Austria – for the ninth year in a row.

War-torn Baghdad, Iraq, props up the table after suffering years of civil unrest and terrorism.

The bottom placings are dominated by cities in Africa, the Middle East and Port au Prince, Haiti.

Key to a city’s future

“How successful an international assignment is hinges on the personal and professional wellbeing of the individual expatriate and the welfare of their families,” said Slagin Parakatil, principal at Mercer and global product owner for its quality of living research.

“As well as a significant hinder to a city’s, business and talent attractiveness, poor quality of living can considerably impact on an expatriate’s lifestyle. Younger generations, millennials, often have high expectations in terms of lifestyle, leisure and entertainment opportunities.

“Companies sending expatriates abroad need to get the full picture of conditions on the ground to compensate their employees appropriately for any decrease in living standards.

“Equally those organisations considering opening an office in a new location should make a short, medium and long-term assessment of the city’s infrastructure. Decision makers increasingly acknowledge that globalisation is challenging cities to inform, innovate and compete to attract people and investments – the key to a city’s future.”

Top 10 best cities for expats

3AucklandNew Zealand

Source: Mercer

Bottom 10 worst cities for expats

222ConakryGuinea Republic
223KinshasaDemocratic Republic of the Congo
228Port au PrinceHaiti
230BanguiCentral African Republic

Source: Mercer

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