Bahrain capital Manama named as top city for expats with Paris one of the worst

by Ray Clancy on November 20, 2017

Manama, the capital of Bahrain, may not be a city that many people think about as a top expat destination but it has come top in annual ranking as the easiest place to live with Paris coming third from bottom.

Paris may be a city of romance and one of the most famous capitals in the world, but when it comes to ease of settling in expats are not impressed, according to the latest findings of the Expat Insider survey.

Manama, Bahrain


Expats said that it is easy to live in Manama with 92% stating that living in the city without speaking Arabic is not hard. Some 84% said that residents have a friendly attitude to foreigners and 65% said they had few problems making new friends.

Expats have an easy time settling in Manama when it comes to housing and finances with 88% generally agreeing that it is easy to find accommodation and just 24% said they think housing is expensive.

A fifth said finances was the main reason for moving to Manama and they are twice as likely to have an annual household income of over US$200,000 compared with expats elsewhere. They are also twice as likely to work in a managerial position.

Prague comes second overall with expats praising its lifestyle and as an easy place to live while Madrid is third, Kuala Lumpur fourth and Amsterdam fifth in the rankings of 51 cities worldwide. Lagos is bottom and Jeddah second bottom, the only two cities to be ranked worse than Paris.

In the survey almost 8,000 expats were asked to share their opinions of the city they are currently living in, rating more than 25 different aspects of urban life abroad on a scale of one to seven. The rating process emphasized the respondents’ personal satisfaction with these aspects and considered both emotional topics as well as more factual aspects with equal weight.

While survey respondents reported a slightly above average quality of life in Paris, ranking it 24th out of 51 cities in the respective index, Paris is last when it comes to getting settled.

Some 43% if expats in Paris consider the local population unfriendly towards foreign residents, and more than double the global average think it is very hard to live in the city without speaking the local language.

Apart from the cold welcome, the survey also found it is difficult for many expats to find and afford housing in Paris. Some 62% found it hard to find a place to live and 71% found it very expensive.

Over a third, some 34% of expats in Paris said that they are also dissatisfied with their financial situation in general, nearly 10% more than the global average of 25%.

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