Bern named as top city for expat living in annual research report

by Ray Clancy on January 26, 2015

Bern and Copenhagen are the most liveable cities in Europe for expats, while Toronto tops the bill in North America, Chile in South America and Singapore in Asia, according to a new survey.

Canberra is the best place in Australia, Tel Aviv the top city in the Middle East and Port Louis in Mauritius the best in Africa, the research from ECA International also shows.


Bern, Switzerland was named the most liveable city for expats in Europe

The firm, regarded as one of the top providers of knowledge, information and technology for the management and assignment of employees around the world, looked at the overall quality of living in over 450 locations across the globe.

Factors assessed include climate; availability of health services; housing and utilities; isolation; access to a social network and leisure facilities; infrastructure; personal safety; political tensions and air quality.

“Good air quality, solid infrastructure, decent medical facilities, low crime and health risks have contributed to Bern and Copenhagen topping the global ranking for quality of living for European assignees,” said Neil Ashman, a senior analyst at ECA International.

However, he explained that the impact of some of the factors assessed, such as distance from home and differences in culture, language and climate, will vary according to where someone comes from.

“Where an employee is going from and to can affect the level of adaptation required on the part of the assignee for some of the factors we measure. For this reason, our analysis takes into account both the home and destination countries,” he said.

“So, while Copenhagen and Bern rank at the top for Europeans, they fall to seventh and eleventh, respectively for someone coming from Asia. For Asian expatriates, Singapore is the most liveable location while, someone expatriating from North America will find it easiest to adapt to living and working in Toronto followed by Dublin,” he added.

Hong Kong has fallen down in the rankings. According to Lee Quane, regional director for Asia at ECA International, Hong Kong’s air quality remains poor and its socio-political score has decreased due to unprecedented unrest and new restrictions on movement.

However, he pointed out that Hong Kong continues to score well in areas such as infrastructure, education, healthcare facilities, and the availability of goods and services. “Hong Kong remains one of the easier places in the world for an outsider to adjust to living and working in,” he added.

The locations to see the biggest movement up and down the global ranking were both in Europe. Tirana in Albania has seen the biggest improvement this survey largely due to a significant upgrade in its education score. Kiev saw the largest deterioration in its score following the unrest there over the past year. Chisinau in Moldova, ranked 192nd, is Europe’s least liveable city.

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