Expatriates rank Singapore as the fifth best city to live and work in, while Kuala Lumpur takes first place this year, according to a recent survey.
Climbing the ranks: Many expats have named Kuala Lumpur the best city in the world to live and work in, beating 56 other cities on the list, including Sydney, Singapore and Dubai, according to the InterNation poll.
- Kuala Lumpur was ranked eighth in the same survey conducted in 2020.
- Other Asian cities mentioned in the top 10 include Singapore at No. 5 and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City at No. 6. Meanwhile, respondents ranked Bangkok at No. 11 and Hong Kong at No. 46. Tokyo was placed in the bottom 10 at No. 53, along with other cities such as New York, Moscow, Paris, Istanbul and Rome.
The survey: InterNation, the world’s largest global expat network with over 4.3 million members, asked more than 12,000 people from 174 different nationalities living in 186 countries and territories in January how they would rate “the quality of life, ease of settling in, personal finance and working abroad” for the cities on the list.
- Some of the aspects that respondents were asked to consider included healthy environment for the Quality of Life category, language barriers for the ease of Settling In category, affordable healthcare for the Personal Finance category and job security for the Working Abroad category.
- Around 85% of the respondents said they are “happy with life in general” in Kuala Lumpur, while 65% said “making friends is easy” in the Southeast Asian city. Respondents were also happy with the working hours and work-life balance in Kuala Lumpur. However, not many were satisfied with the political stability, personal safety, public transportation and the urban environment in the city.
- While Singapore scored high on the Quality of Urban Living Index (3rd), particularly in politics and safety, about 43% of respondents find the city-state’s healthcare unaffordable despite receiving high ratings in quality and availability. The Southeast Asian city also scored low in Urban Work Life Index (37th), specifically in working hours and work-life balance, and Local Cost of Living Index (43rd) due to the high cost of housing.
- Ho Chi Minh City was placed in the bottom 10 for the Quality of Urban Living Index even though it received high ratings in four indices, specifically Local Cost of Living (2nd), Finance and Housing (2nd), Urban Work-Life (10th) and Getting Settled (10th). Around 65% of respondents attributed the low rating to transportation issues.
- Bangkok, which barely made the top 10, received low ratings in the Quality of Urban Living Index (43rd) due to “pollution and environmental concerns,” as well as the few career opportunities available for expatriates.
- Although Shanghai scored high in the job and transportation subcategories, the survey result ranked the city 27th in the Getting Started Index, with 75% of the respondents saying it was difficult to learn the local language.
- Hong Kong, which ranked 46 out of the 57 cities in the list, received a low rating for the Local Cost of Living, with 78% of the respondents reacting negatively and 83% finding housing unaffordable. They were also unsatisfied by the work-life balance in the city and working hours. Another factor why Hong Kong received a low score in the survey was due to the political situation in the city.
- Last on the list for Asia list is Tokyo, which many respondents deemed to be one of the worst cities to live in this year. The majority of respondents cited communication as one of the issues they encountered in the city, with 75% saying it was difficult to learn Japanese and 54% finding it hard to live in Tokyo without speaking the local language. Around one-third of the respondents voted negatively to the working hours in Tokyo, and 32% said they were unhappy with the work-life balance.