Survey: Tallinn the 22nd best city for expats to work and live

According to a recent survey by InterNations, a global network with members in 420 cities, the Estonian capital, Tallinn, is the 22nd best city for expats to work and live.

The Expat City Ranking 2021 places Tallinn at the 22nd place overall among 57 ranked cities, saying that Tallinn is a safe city, but expats have difficulties connecting with local residents.

“In fact, less than half the expats (47%) find the local residents generally friendly (vs 69% globally). ‘People here are not welcoming and quite closed off,’ shares a Ukrainian expat. Consequently, 36% find it hard to make new friends (vs. 32% globally),” InterNations said of Tallinn.

Source: Internations.

On the other hand, Tallinn ranks 10th in the world in personal safety, and 84% of the respondents to the survey say they’re satisfied with the urban environment.

Affordable housing and low cost of living

“’It is peaceful, clean, and safe,’ a Mexican expat says. On the other hand, Tallinn performs poorly for local leisure options (43rd) and the availability of health care (42nd).”

Tallinn also fares well in the finance and housing category. “Expats describe housing as affordable (50% vs. 42% globally) and quite easy to find (60% vs. 60% globally). ‘My partner and I were even able to purchase a flat here, which was a rather easy process,’ a Lithuanian expat explains,” according to the survey.

Although many complain about the rising cost of living in Estonia, half of the expats still describe Tallinn’s housing as affordable. Apartment blocks in Tallinn’s Mustamäe district, built during the Soviet-era in the 1960s and 1970s.

Tallinn also ranks above the global average in the local cost of living (16th) and the urban work life (18th) categories.

“The city even makes it into the top 5 for working hours (4th): 73% of survey respondents are satisfied with this factor (vs. 66% globally). They are also happy with the job security (72% vs. 61% globally) and local career opportunities (55% vs. 45% globally).”

Copenhagen and Stockholm score lower than Tallinn

According to the survey, the best cities for expats are Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Málaga, Spain; and Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. Sydney, Australia came fourth, Singapore fifth and Saigon, Vietnam sixth. The Czech capital, Prague, is ranked seventh, Mexico City, Mexico, eighth, Basel, Switzerland ninth and Madrid, Spain, tenth.

The worst cities for expats, according to the survey, are Rome, Italy; Milan, Italy; and Johannesburg, South Africa.

The only Nordic cities in the survey, in addition to Tallinn, are Copenhagen, Denmark (ranked 30th) and Stockholm, Sweden (43rd).

Source: Internations.

The Expat City Ranking is based on the annual expat insider survey by InterNations, which is an extensive survey about living and working abroad, with 12,420 respondents in 2021.

InterNations is a global community of people who live and work abroad. It has over four million members in 420 cities around the world.

Cover: An international student at the Tallinn Town Hall Square. The image is illustrative. Photo by Tallinn University.

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