It’s more fun in Manama, Prague, Madrid, Kuala Lumpur, Amsterdam

By: - Reporter / @neltayao
/ 05:10 AM November 26, 2017

Manama, Prague, Madrid, Kuala Lumpur and Amsterdam.

These are some cities expats should be eyeing if they want to get settled more easily in a new locale and enjoy their work, says this year’s Expat City Ranking by InterNations, the world’s largest expatriate network.


The ranking is based on data from the annual Expat Insider Survey, which asked around 13,000 expats representing 166 nationalities in 188 countries to rate over 25 different aspects of urban life abroad on a scale of one to seven.

The respondents’ ratings of the individual factors were then bundled in various combinations for a total of 13 subcategories, and their mean values were used to draw up four topical indices: quality of urban living; getting settled; urban work life; and finance and housing. These were further averaged in order to rank 51 cities worldwide.


For a city to be featured in the Expat City Ranking 2017, a sample size of at least 45 survey participants per city was required.

In total, the responses used for the city ranking represent 7,985 expats living in 40 countries.

Manama, the capital of Bahrain, won top spot because of its exceptional performance on almost all of the four indices. It does particularly well when it comes to ease of getting settled, says the InterNations report, which even quotes one Filipino expat describing the locals as “very friendly and helpful.”

“Expats particularly appreciate how easy it is to live in the city without speaking the local language: an impressive 92 person of respondents agree that this is the case. The majority (59 percent) even considers it very easy to live in Manama without Arabic language skills,” the report reads.

Housing in Manama is easier to find and less expensive compared to other cities, the report continues.

Finances do not seem to be a problem either, as the survey shows that expats in the city are twice as likely to have an annual household income of over $200,000 as others worldwide (11 percent vs. 5 percent).

“This might be connected to the fact that they are also twice as likely to work in management,” the report says.


Work life in Manama also showed generally positive results, with expats ranking the city high in subcategories such as job and career, and work-life balance.

The only index in which the city didn’t do well is quality of urban living.

Other cities that made it to the Top 10 are: Prague, Madrid, Kuala Lumpur, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Johannesburg, Bangkok, Basel and Frankfurt am Main.

Like Manama, Amsterdam, Kuala Lumpur and Madrid ranked high because of the cities’ general friendliness toward foreign residents.

While only half of expats surveyed in Prague said they were satisfied with such factor, the capital of the Czech Republic still ranks high on the list because of the work environment—almost 70 percent of expats there said they were satisfied with the local career opportunities.

Prague is also commended by respondents for its quality of urban living, particularly its transportation options, the report says.

Respondents also gave above-average marks to the city’s leisure options, safety, and the affordability of healthcare.

The report also took note of cities which landed on the bottom of the list.

In last place is Lagos, Nigeria, as almost three-fourths of the expats there gave the state of the local economy negative ratings, and over half said they were unhappy with their personal safety.

Second to last is Jeddah in Saudi Arabia because of the low quality of life, as well as poor work life.

Finally, third to the last is Paris, as respondents reported having great difficulty getting settled in the city—over 40 percent said locals were unfriendly toward foreign residents, and over a third said it was hard to live in the French capital without learning the language.

“Apart from the cold welcome, it is also difficult for many expats to find and afford housing in Paris: 62 and 71 percent, respectively, give these factors a negative rating. Over a third (34 percent) are also dissatisfied with their financial situation in general,” the report says.

This is the fourth year for the Expat Insider Survey, conducted by InterNations, which has almost three million members in 390 cities.

Aside from being the world’s largest global expat network, it also offers through its website InterNations.org country and city guides, as well as discussion forums to aid foreign residents in matters such as housing or local job searches.

Membership is by approval only.

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TAGS: Amsterdam, Expat City Ranking, Kuala Lumpur, Madrid, Manama, prague
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