The survey classifies the cities taking into account a variety of factors.
The Diplomat. 20/11/2017
Madrid and Barcelona hold the third and sixth position, of a total of 51 cities in the world, in the list of most appealing cities to live as an expatriate, according to the annual survey published by InterNations and in which almost 13,000 people living and working abroad have participated.
As well as offering an in-depth analysis of the life of expatriates, the survey classifies these cities taking into account a variety of factors that include matters such as the quality of urban life, adaptation to the new city, nightlife, as well as the purchasing power of the inhabitants living in it or facilities to rent or purchase housing.
Based on the results of all these factors, the world’s ten best cities for expatriates are, by order: Manama, Prague, Madrid, Kuala Lumpur, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Johannesburg, Bangkok, Basel and Frankfurt.
The two Spanish cities stand out in this ranking because of their excellent performance as regards the quality of urban life and facilities to settle in the city. For example, 79% of the expatriates living in Barcelona are satisfied with the quality of the urban environment (75% of those in Madrid).
Those polled think that making local friends is more difficult in Madrid than in Barcelona
Furthermore, more than nine out of every ten people polled are satisfied with the activities available in these cities (93% in Barcelona and 94% in Madrid) and most of them enjoy the local climate (96% in Barcelona and 85% in the capital). Foreigners also enjoy the social life of these two Spanish cities (75% in Barcelona and 70% in Madrid), above the average in the rest of the world (59%).
Oddly enough, despite the fact that more expatriates in Madrid find difficult to live in this city without speaking the local language (52% compared to 37% in Barcelona), those expatriates established in Madrid have more chances of making local friends in Madrid (24%) than those established in Barcelona (11%).
The weak points for both Spanish cities are the high level of unemployment and an unstable economy (34th position for Barcelona and 38th for Madrid of a total of 51). Moreover, the annual income is below the world average: whereas 31% of the expatriates in the rest of the world exceed the 75,000 annual dollars, only 11% of those in Barcelona can say the same. In Madrid, this number amounts to 23%.
As for the local cost of housing, Madrid holds the 13th position and Barcelona the 30th. In fact, almost six out of every ten expatriates living in Madrid (57%) are satisfied with their expenditure in this section, whereas that opinion goes down to 30% in the case of Barcelona. Finally, most of the expatriates describe the general courtesy towards foreign residents positively in Manama (84%), Amsterdam (83%), Kuala Lumpur (78%) and Madrid (74%). The global average is of 67%.