Some people will go on an expat assignment to just about anywhere. They are willing to take on any new experience while others are a bit more hesitant and cautious about where they might go to spend a few years developing personally and professionally. Some of that decision making is obviously impacted by family situations, the unique business situation, political climate and details related to the quality of life.
Time Magazine just published its list of the "World's Greatest Places 2019 - 100 destinations to experience right now." This was their second annual list of the world's greatest places. How did they determine which places should make the list? In their own words, "(we) solicited nominations across a variety of categories—including museums, parks, restaurants, and hotels—from our editors and correspondents around the world as well as industry experts. Then we evaluated each one based on key factors, including quality, originality, sustainability, innovation and influence." Many of the locations that were highly rated for "must visit" also fall into locations that were recently highly rated by Mercer's 2019 Quality of Living Report.
Mercers's report however, looks at the totality of each city to consider expat life in the following areas: recreation, housing, economic environment, consumer goods, public services and transport, political and social environment, natural environment, socio-cultural environment, school and education and medical and health considerations. The U.S. did not have any cities listed in the top 33. San Francisco was the first U.S. city listed, coming in at number 34. However, Canada does a nice job of representing with three in the top 20. As usual, Europe (led by Austria, Germany, Switzerland) dominated this list.
The top 10 cities from the report for highest quality of life for expatriates were:
- Vienna, Austria
- Zürich, Switzerland
- Vancouver, Canada
- Munich, Germany
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Düsseldorf, Germany
- Frankfort, Germany
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Geneva, Switzerland
- Basel, Switzerland
At the bottom of that list were Baghdad, Bangui, Sana'a, Port au Prince and Khartoum.
Anyone who has ever considered moving abroad will inevitably have spent a lot of time thinking about the impact such a move might have on their living standards. Of course, what constitutes a good quality of life for one individual or family may be different from another. Generally speaking, though, there are some good ways of measuring quality of life, such as local education, job opportunities, access to services, transport and housing.