By Sam Bridge
Expat City Ranking 2019 by InterNations ranks other Gulf cities in top half of list, with Abu Dhabi leading the way in 15th place
The unhappiest expats in the world can be found in Kuwait City, it was revealed on Tuesday.
The Expat City Ranking 2019 by InterNations, the world’s largest expat community with more than 3.5 million members, showed that four Asian cities - Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore - were the best cities to live as an expat in a new list comparing a total of 82 cities.
On the other hand, Kuwait City was ranked bottom of the list while Rome (81st) and Milan (80th), Lagos, Paris, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Lima, New York City and Yangon, Myanmar also featured in the bottom 10 cities worldwide.
Abu Dhabi (15th), Manama (21st), Muscat (28th) and Dubai (34th) ranked top to midfield in the rankings.
Barring Kuwait City, the cities are among the top 25 worldwide for getting settled, and expats generally value the safety as well as the availability and affordability of housing.
However, the lack of a good work life is a prominent weakness for the cities in the GCC states, the report said.
In contrast to the other cities in the GCC States, Kuwait City’s worst performing area is the Getting Settled Index (82nd). Almost three in five respondents (57 percent) feel that the local residents are unfriendly towards foreigners (v 19 percent globally).
Kuwait City, like most other GCC cities, also does badly in the Quality of Urban Living Index, ranking 81st, ahead of only Lagos, Nigeria.
It is the world’s worst-rated city for leisure activities and for the local climate and weather while more than three in five expats are also dissatisfied with the local transportation and Kuwait City has the worst-rated quality of environment.
Another weakness of Kuwait City is its work life, for which it ranks 79th worldwide, ahead of only Istanbul, Athens and Rome. Over a third of expats say they are dissatisfied with their job in general (v 19 percent globally), and two in five are unhappy with the local career opportunities.
Kuwait City also has the worst-rated work-life balance worldwide, with 38 percent of expats rating this factor negatively.
The report said the drawbacks to Dubai mainly come from its poor work life (71st). Less than half the expats say they are happy with their work-life balance (v 60 percent globally) and only 45 percent feel secure in their job (v 59 percent globally).
While Abu Dhabi ranked well in most areas surveyed, the UAE capital also ranked in the bottom 10 for job security (73rd), with 30 percent of expats worrying about this.
After ranking in the top 3 for two years in a row, Manama fell to 21st in the Expat City Ranking 2019, losing the most ground in the Urban Work Life Index as only 63 percent say they are generally happy with their jobs while also being less satisfied with their working hours.
Muscat fell from the top 10 to rank 28th, in large part due to a decline in its performance in the Finance subcategory. Just 44 percent of expats say they feel their disposable household income is more than they need to cover their daily costs in 2019, compared to 62 percent in 2018.