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Valencia tops expat insider survey

Spain has always been a popular destination for those looking to move abroad, particularly for British expats. Typically, Barcelona and Madrid have remained Spanish expat hotspots, however, following new research, it appears that Valencia is now becoming a firm favourite.

Valencia has been named as the best expat nation in the world in an annual survey carried out by InterNations. The 2020 Expat Insider Survey ranked Valencia as the best destination for expats, ahead of last year’s table topper, Taiwan. Alicante came in at number two, while Lisbon, Panama City and Singapore rounded out the top five.

This article covers the findings of the Expat Insider Survey 2020 and what expats love about these high-ranking destinations, as well as opinions on the lower ranking cities.

City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain

What do expats love about living in Valencia?

Valencia topped the list of 66 countries after also ranking first in the Quality of Urban Living Index. Valencia holds first place in the Leisure and Climate category and Health and Environment, impressing with the quality and affordability of its healthcare and the enviable financial situation of its expats.

The Expat Insider Survey shows that 91% of expats living in Valencia are happy with the availability of healthcare, 88% happy with the quality and 87% satisfied with its affordability.

Within the Quality of Living Index, expats particularly rate Valencia’s transport system, with 96% giving it a positive rating.

One of the most loved aspects of Valencia has to be the weather, with over 300 days a year of sun. 100% of expats love Valencia’s climate, with not one negative comment.

Research indicates that 23% of expats move to Valencia for a better quality of life, whilst 20% move to the Spanish city to retire.

Valencia also ranked highly within the Getting Settled Index, with 67% of expats claiming how easy it is to make friends, highly rating the friendliness of the locals and the ease of settling in to the culture.

The only negative comments from expats are the lack of job opportunities available in Valencia, with 54% rating the economy highly. That being said, many expats living in Valencia are often retirees.

Expat statistics for Alicante

Alicante also ranked highly in multiple categories. Similarly to Valencia, Alicante stands at number two in finance and housing and first place in the Getting Settled Index. 81% of expats living in Alicante are happy with their personal financial situation, with 83% stating that they feel at home.

Within the Quality of Living Index, Alicante scores highly for the availability, quality and affordability of its healthcare, with the climate being a particular favourite aspect amongst expats.

Areas which do not rank as highly in Alicante include public transport, job satisfaction and local career opportunities. That being said, a significant number of expats in Alicante tend to be retired, similar to Valencia.

Expat statistics for Lisbon

The beautiful Lisbon stands at third place in the expat survey, alongside its Spanish neighbours. Expats in Lisbon are particularly fond of the local quality of life as well as the ease of settling into the Portuguese capital.

Like Valencia, Lisbon does not experience cold winters with 300 days of sunshine a year and remains warm even in the colder months. Unsurprisingly, expats in Lisbon give the city a 96% approval when it comes to climate.

A particularly striking figure is that 0% of respondents had anything negative to say in terms of personal safety in Lisbon, with 87% rating the urban environment.

Property prices in Lisbon tend to be higher than other Portuguese cities, with 51% of expats giving this a negative rating. However, the majority of expats in Lisbon also claim not to struggle with personal finances, with 66% stating that they are happy with their financial situation.

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Which expat destinations rank the lowest?

Salmiya in Kuwait is the lowest ranked expat destination in the survey at number 66. Following not far behind are Rome, Seoul, Milan and Nairobi.

In 66th place, Salmiya ranks negatively for the majority of categories within the survey, placing in the bottom for the Quality of Life Index and is joined by fellow African cities, Nairobi and Johannesburg. Salmiya also ranks last for the Health and Environment and Leisure and Climate categories. The figures indicate that 56% of expats negatively rate Salmiya’s leisure options, with 59% unhappy with the climate.

In 65th place is the Italian capital, Rome, also ranking poorly in the Quality of Life Index and Urban Work Life Index. Whilst Rome ranks well for climate and weather, political and safety concerns are a major worry for expats, with 64% of expats living in Rome also rating public transport negatively. Work/life balance also appears to be a significant issue for expats living in Rome, with only 8% rating their job highly.

Seoul comes in at 64th place, with expats giving a poor rating for settling in and urban work life. 38% of expats living in Seoul are unhappy with their working hours, 51% not satisfied with their job and 46% dissatisfied with job security. One respondent also commented that Korea as a whole struggled to embrace foreigners as Koreans. That being said Seoul ranks well for other aspects such as public transport, personal safety, cost of living and quality of medical care.