New York City ranks 48th out of 57 global cities for expats to live and work abroad in 2021, according to the latest report from InterNations, an online expat community with more than 4 million global members. As the only U.S. city included in the report, New York comes in just above the likes of Moscow, Paris, Cairo and Tokyo.
The survey, conducted in January 2021, asked more than 12,000 expats to rate their satisfaction across four main categories, including quality of life (like a healthy environment and robust WiFi infrastructure), ease of settling in (such as language barriers and friendliness of local residents), personal finance (such as access to affordable health care) and working abroad (such as job security and a stable local economy).
Expats living in New York are happiest with their job and career prospects in the city and say it's relatively easy to get settled, feel welcome, make friends and overcome any language barriers. More than 8 million people in the city speak some 700 dialects, according to one estimate.
Incoming New Yorkers enjoy what the city has to offer, with 84% saying they're happy with their local leisure options.
But the city's many benefits are largely overshadowed by stressors that come with living in a congested and expensive city. New York's ranking falls drastically due to its high housing costs, poor work-life balance, unstable safety and politics, and poor health and environmental standards, the report notes. Three-quarters of expats in New York are dissatisfied with the local cost of living, compared with just 34% of global expats feeling similarly.
Overall, 63% of expats living and working in New York City say they're happy with life in general, compared with 75% of expats who live elsewhere around the world.
The top three global cities for expats include Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia; Málaga, a port city in southern Spain; and Dubai of the United Arab Emirates.
Here's how expats feel about living in New York City compared with people who live abroad around the world.
Expats living in New York City
- 63% are happy with life in general
- 12% are happy with the cost of living
- 46% say making new friends is easy
- 74% are happy with their job
- 47% are happy with their work-life balance
- 67% are happy with the quality of medical care
Global expats on average
- 75% are happy with life in general
- 48% are happy with the cost of living
- 48% say making new friends is easy
- 68% are happy with their job
- 66% are happy with their work-life balance
- 71% are happy with the quality of medical care
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Here’s how expats living in the U.S. rate work-life balance, cost of living and overall happiness
American expats find better work-life balance but limited career growth abroad
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