In today’s global economy more of us than ever before are reaping the benefits of international relocation and the career-enhancing opportunities that such situations can bring.
However a perennial problem is assessing which potential destinations are likely to offer you (and your family) the very best quality of life.
After all, while some expats are happy to relocate almost anywhere for the right salary package and future prospects, just as important to many of us is to ensure that we relocate to a country that we’ll enjoy.
But what are the best destinations at the present for expats?
Each year a considerable number of “best expat destination” surveys are published, and are covered here at Expatriate Healthcare. However the majority of these surveys focus on individual countries.
It should come as no surprise that the quality of life can vary enormously within a single country, based on factors such as safety and security, property prices and the availability of high quality local schools and cultural events.
Expat talent firm Mercer, however, has recently broken this mould, focusing their survey instead on the quality of life to be found in major cities popular with expat employers. The 2016 edition of their “Quality of Life Index” makes for some fascinating reading and provides a handy guide for expats looking at new opportunities.
So according to the extensive Mercer survey, which cities really offer the best quality of life?
Coming in top is Vienna in Austria. The study claims that Vienna offers “a safe and stable environment to live in, a high level of public utilities and transport facilities and good recreational facilities”.
Coming in just behind Vienna was Zurich in Switzerland. Long a popular expat destination, Zurich was praised for its cultural activities, together with its strong and secure financial industry. As a result Zurich provides many highly-paid employment opportunities combined with a stable political scene.
Interestingly Auckland in New Zealand found itself in position three, on account of its high levels of personal safety and natural beauty.
The top five results are rounded off by Munich in Germany and lastly Vancouver in Canada.
What is perhaps most noticeable from the long list of cities offering an excellent quality of life is just how many are within Western Europe; from Vienna through to Dusseldorf at number six and Bern at number 14.
It would appear that while some people sniff at the high rates of tax payable in many European expat destinations (in contrast to much of the Middle East, for example) these taxes are generally being used wisely to create an enviable living environment.
Added to this much of Europe is statistically safer than some rather more “exotic” and “exciting” destinations, with cities like Baghdad and Port-au-Prince in Haiti landing in the bottom ten cities out of the 230 destinations surveyed.