According to a recent survey by InterNations, a global network with 4.5 million members in 420 cities, the Estonian capital, Tallinn, is the 11th best city for expats.
Tallinn ranks 11th out of 50 in the Expat City Ranking 2022 and performs best in the Expat Essentials Index – it’s ranked fourth – thanks to its high level of digitisation and the ease of handling admin topics.
“What is more, expats in Tallinn are satisfied with their working life, even though moving to the city does not necessarily improve their career prospects. While they also enjoy the high quality of life, they struggle to make local friends and are unhappy with their social life,” the survey says.
Tallinn was also voted the best city worldwide in the Digital Life subcategory.
“Expats are very satisfied with the availability of government services online (90% happy vs 61% globally) and the unrestricted access to online services (100% vs 82% globally). More than four in five (82%) also find it easy to deal with local bureaucracy, more than twice the global average (40%), and 80% had no problem getting a visa in order to move there (vs 56% globally).”
The business culture encourages creativity
“Therefore, Tallinn lands in an excellent second place in the Admin Topics subcategory, only beaten by Dubai.”
The Working Abroad index (16th) is another highlight for Tallinn, according to the survey, particularly when it comes to the Work Culture and Satisfaction subcategory (3rd).
“Expats agree that the local business culture encourages creativity (83% happy vs 51% globally), promotes independent work (81% vs 45% globally) and supports flexibility (92% vs 60% globally). While expats are also happy with their working hours (76% happy vs 63% globally), 29% say that moving to Tallinn has not improved their career prospects (vs 18% globally).”
Tallinn ranks midfield in both the Personal Finance (20th) and the Quality of Life (22nd) indices; however, the latter features both highs and lows: expats rank the city first for the affordability of public transportation (98% happy vs 70% globally), and 92% are also happy with its availability (vs 73% globally).
“In fact, expats generally appreciate the great air quality (fourth) and the urban environment (fifth). The great environment might help a bit with Tallinn’s ranking for recreational sports (24th), but on the other hand, about one in five (19%) are unhappy with the culinary variety and dining options (vs 12% globally). Overall, the city lands in a low 41st place in the Leisure Options subcategory.”
The local population tends to be unfriendly
According to the survey, the ease of settling in (33rd) is Tallinn’s weak point.
“This is mainly due to the Local Friendliness subcategory (38th): 23% of expats perceive the local population as unfriendly towards foreign residents (vs 18% globally), and more than half (52%) find it hard to make friends with them (vs 37% globally). In the end, 35% are unhappy with their social life in Tallinn, compared with 26% globally.”
In the 2021 survey, Tallinn ranked 22nd.
Valencia, Spain, is said to be the best city for expats in the world, according to the survey. It’s followed by Dubai, the UAE; Mexico City, Mexico; Lisbon, Portugal; Madrid, Spain; Bangkok, Thailand; Basel, Switzerland; Melbourne, Australia; Abu Dhabi, the UAE; and Singapore.
Old Europe not faring too well
Johannesburg, South Africa, is, according to the survey, the worst city for expats – listed 50th in the index. It’s followed by Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Paris, France; Istanbul, Turkey; Hong Kong, China; Hamburg, Germany; Milan, Italy; Vancouver, Canada; Tokyo, Japan; and Rome, Italy.
The Expat City Ranking is based on the annual Expat Insider survey by InterNations, which is, according to the network, “one of the most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, with 11,970 respondents in 2022”.
“This year, 50 cities around the globe are analysed in the survey, which offers in-depth information about five areas of expat life: Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Personal Finance, and Expat Essentials Index, which covers digital life, admin topics, housing and language.”
InterNations is a global community of people who live and work abroad. It has 4.5 million members in 420 cities around the world.