Global liveability report reveals which cities offer the best quality of life for Europeans abroad

Press releases   •   Feb 11, 2020 12:45 GMT

  • Clean air, good facilities and low crime rate among the benefits that make Copenhagen and Bern the most liveable cities in the world for European expats
  • Edinburgh is the most attractive UK city, retaining its position in the top 20 (19th)
  • London remains relatively low on the list at 47th due to personal safety and pollution scores
  • Dublin sits in joint 9th place for the second year in a row
  • As Harry and Meghan relocate across the Atlantic, Canada once again shines as the most liveable non-European country for European expats

Copenhagen and Bern have scooped the joint top spot as the most liveable cities in the world, according to the latest annual Location Ratings Report from global mobility expert, ECA International (ECA).

However, UK cities remain fairly low on the list as attractive options for European expats, with the exception of Edinburgh, which retains its position in joint 19th place with Stockholm, Sweden.

Cities around the world are evaluated annually by ECA on a variety of liveability factors including availability of health services; housing and utilities; isolation; access to a social network and leisure facilities; infrastructure; climate; personal safety; political tensions and air quality.

Neil Ashman, Senior Location Ratings Analyst at ECA International, said: “Pollution, crime rate and terrorism threats are among the factors that affect the liveability of major UK cities such as London, Manchester, Belfast and Glasgow. Europeans relocating for work or looking to move abroad can expect a good quality of life in many locations in Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany or Norway; countries that dominate the top 20 of our rankings.”

Canadian cities score better than many European counterparts

Elsewhere, the Canadian cities of Toronto and Vancouver are the highest ranked non-European locations on the list, beating major European capitals such as Madrid, Berlin and even London for liveability.

“Despite the distance, Canadian cities have always provided a high quality of life for European expats, with consistently high scores putting its key cities above many of its European counterparts. Harry and Meghan follow in the footsteps of millions European of expats to Canadian cities, namely Toronto and Vancouver, which are relatively easy for European expatriates to adapt to. Choosing Canada to bring up their new family means they will experience lower crime levels, good public facilities, and better air quality” said Ashman.

Northern Europe leads the way

Four cities in the Netherlands feature in the top 20 most liveable in the world. Eindhoven, a design and technology hub, climbed one place this year, securing its position in the top five cities. In Switzerland, four major cities also retain their top 20 status.

Ashman said “Northern European cities in places such as Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Switzerland, have consistently scored well for expat liveability. Excellent transport links, a high standard of healthcare and long-term political stability, mean that overseas workers from elsewhere in Europe can adapt to these locations with ease.”

Good news for 900,000 Irish passport applicants

Dublin has kept its position within the top 10 most liveable cities in the world. ECA’s liveability score of the Irish capital will be well received by expats and the record number of Irish passport applicants last year.

“Dublin has become a popular hub for the expats from around the world thanks to having the benefits of a large city while also managing to avoid the negative aspects. For example, crime rates and air quality are much better in the Irish capital than many other major European locations, while culture and infrastructure scores remain strengths too” said Ashman.

 Top 20 most liveable locations for European expatriates

Location 2019 ranking 2020 ranking
Denmark - Copenhagen 1 1
Switzerland - Bern 1 1
Netherlands - The Hague 3 3
Switzerland - Geneva 3 3
Netherlands - Eindhoven 6 5
Norway - Stavanger 5 5
Netherlands - Amsterdam 6 7
Switzerland - Basel 6 7
Irish Republic - Dublin 9 9
Luxembourg - Luxembourg City 9 9
Sweden - Gothenburg 9 9
Denmark - Aarhus 12 12
Netherlands - Rotterdam 12 12
Switzerland - Zurich 14 14
Germany - Bonn 15 15
Germany - Munich 15 15
Austria - Vienna 17 17
Germany - Hamburg 17 17
Sweden - Stockholm 19 19
United Kingdom - Edinburgh 19 19

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors

About ECA International

ECA International is the market-leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

Partnering with thousands of clients on every continent, we provide a fully-integrated suite of quality data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.

We make the complex world of international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support they need to make the right decisions – every time.

ECA International: Mobility solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.

About ECA’s Location Ratings

Updated annually, ECA International's Location Ratings system measures the quality of expatriate living conditions in over 480 locations around the world to arrive at a fair and consistent assessment of the level of difficulty the expatriate will experience in adapting to a new location. Factors evaluated include climate; availability of health services; housing and utilities; isolation; access to a social network and leisure facilities; infrastructure; personal safety; political tensions and air quality.

For further information, please contact:

Jack Firth

Tel: +44 0 20 7351 5000

Email: Jack.Firth@eca-international.com

About ECA International (www.eca-international.com)

ECA International is the market leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

Partnering with thousands of clients on every continent, we provide a fully integrated suite of quality data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.

We make the complex world of international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support they need to make the right decisions - every time.

ECA International: Mobility solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.

Clean air, good facilities and low crime rate among the benefits that make Copenhagen and Bern the most liveable cities in the world for European expats

Read more »

Canada is ranked the most liveable country for European expats

Press releases   •   Feb 11, 2020 11:29 GMT

  • As Harry and Meghan relocate across the Atlantic, Canada once again shines as the most liveable non-European country for European expats
  • Toronto remains the top Canadian city, with higher liveability scores than the country’s capital, Ottawa
  • Canadian cities also score better than many cities in Europe. Toronto beats large European capitals such as Madrid, Berlin and even London in the latest liveability rankings

Canada remains the most attractive country outside of Europe for Europeans to take residence for the fifth year running, according to the latest report from global mobility experts, ECA International (ECA).

Fit for royalty with its clean air, free healthcare, low crime and political stability, Canada has retained its high position in ECA’s liveability analysis in its annual Location Ratings Report.

ECA’s liveability survey of over 490 cities around the world looks at factors including availability of health services; housing and utilities; isolation; access to a social network and leisure facilities; infrastructure; climate; personal safety; political tensions and air quality.

Canada has long been an attractive country for expatriates to live, boasting one of the world’s strongest economies, booming industry, and a strong focus on entrepreneurship opportunities. Many Canadian cities even outscore European hubs including London, Paris, Berlin and Rome despite the distance from home.

An additional important factor for mainland Europeans looking to relocate is that Canada is officially bilingual, with many Canadians speaking English as well as French, the third most widely spoken language in Europe.

UK nationals make up the third largest foreign-born group in Canada –after India and China – which has attracted a large foreign-born population of approx. 6,775,800 people* with a total 20.6 per cent of the population - the highest proportion among the G8 countries.

“Canadian cities have always provided a high quality of life for European expats, with consistently high scores putting Canadian cities above many European counterparts. Harry and Meghan follow in the footsteps of millions of European expats to Canadian cities, namely Toronto and Vancouver, which are relatively easy for European expatriates to adapt to. Choosing Canada to bring up their new family means they will experience lower crime levels, good public facilities, and better air quality,” comments Neil Ashman, Senior Location Ratings Analyst at ECA International.

Toronto ranks top for Europeans in Canada

Toronto, Canada’s largest city, fared the best of all the Canadian cities reviewed in ECA’s report. Despite extreme weather challenges that face residents and businesses in Toronto the government is making historic new investments in infrastructure to maintain its position as a world class city.

“Since 2016, the Canadian government has committed $14.4 billion on modernising public transport, green and social infrastructure, trade and transportation, making it a consistently attractive city for European’s living abroad.”

Northern European cities lead the way

Elsewhere, Copenhagen and Bern have scooped the joint top spot as the most liveable cities in the world for European expats.

Ashman said: “Northern European cities in places such as Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Switzerland, have consistently scored well for expat liveability. Excellent transport links, a high standard of healthcare and long-term political stability, mean that overseas workers from elsewhere in Europe can adapt to these locations with ease.”

Good news for 900,000 Irish passport applicants

Dublin has kept its position within the top 10 most liveable cities in the world. ECA’s liveability score of the Irish capital will be well received by expats and the record number of Irish passport applicants last year.

“Dublin has become a popular hub for the expats from around the world thanks to having the benefits of a large city while also managing to avoid the negative aspects. For example, crime rates and air quality are much better in the Irish capital than many other major European locations, while culture and infrastructure scores remain strengths too” said Ashman. 

Location 2019 ranking 2020 ranking
Denmark - Copenhagen 1 1
Switzerland - Bern 1 1
Netherlands - The Hague 3 3
Switzerland - Geneva 3 3
Netherlands - Eindhoven 6 5
Norway - Stavanger 5 5
Netherlands - Amsterdam 6 7
Switzerland - Basel 6 7
Irish Republic - Dublin 9 9
Luxembourg - Luxembourg City 9 9
Sweden - Gothenburg 9 9
Denmark - Aarhus 12 12
Netherlands - Rotterdam 12 12
Switzerland - Zurich 14 14
Germany - Bonn 15 15
Germany - Munich 15 15
Austria - Vienna 17 17
Germany - Hamburg 17 17
Sweden - Stockholm 19 19
United Kingdom - Edinburgh 19 19

ECA's Location Ratings system objectively evaluates a host of factors to form an assessment of the overall quality of living in over 490 locations worldwide. The system helps companies establish appropriate allowances to compensate employees for the adjustment required when going on international assignment. The impact of some of the factors assessed will vary according to the home location of the assignee.

-ENDS-


Notes to editors

About ECA International

ECA International is the market-leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

Partnering with thousands of clients on every continent, we provide a fully integrated suite of quality data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.

We make the complex world of international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support they need to make the right decisions – every time.

ECA International: Mobility solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.

About ECA’s Location Ratings

Updated annually, ECA International's Location Ratings system measures the quality of expatriate living conditions in over 480 locations around the world to arrive at a fair and consistent assessment of the level of difficulty the expatriate will experience in adapting to a new location. Factors evaluated include climate; availability of health services; housing and utilities; isolation; access to a social network and leisure facilities; infrastructure; personal safety; political tensions and air quality.

For further information, please contact:

Jack Firth

Tel: +44 0 20 7351 5000

Email: Jack.Firth@eca-international.com

About ECA International (www.eca-international.com)

ECA International is the market leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

Partnering with thousands of clients on every continent, we provide a fully integrated suite of quality data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.

We make the complex world of international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support they need to make the right decisions - every time.

ECA International: Mobility solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.

As Harry and Meghan relocate across the Atlantic, Canada once again shines as the most liveable non-European country for European expats.

Read more »

North America overtakes Asia in cost of living

Press releases   •   Dec 13, 2019 16:22 GMT

North American locations account for almost a third of the top 100 most expensive locations compared to only five in 2014.

Workers in Hong Kong set to see higher real salary increases in 2020

Press releases   •   Nov 12, 2019 12:26 GMT

The average real salary increase in Hong Kong is forecast to be 1.4% above inflation in 2020, up from 1.0% in 2019.

Workers in China set to see a real salary increase of 3.6% in 2020

Press releases   •   Nov 12, 2019 11:44 GMT

The average real salary increase in China is forecast to be 3.6% above inflation in 2020, down slightly from 3.7% in 2019.

UK workers set to receive a lower real salary increase in 2020

Press releases   •   Nov 12, 2019 11:13 GMT

UK professionals are expected to receive a 1.1 percent real salary increase in 2020, equating to approximately £334.62pa on average.

UK workers set to receive a lower real salary increase in 2020

Press releases   •   Nov 12, 2019 10:06 GMT

UK professionals are expected to receive a 1.1 percent real salary increase in 2020, equating to approximately £334.62pa on average.

EUROPE FALLS BEHIND USA IN COST OF LIVING

Press releases   •   Jun 13, 2019 11:57 BST

Europe now accounts for less than a fifth of the world’s top 100 most expensive cities due to weakened euro.

UK overtakes Japan as most expensive country to send expatriates

Press releases   •   May 22, 2019 11:45 BST

The average pay package for an expatriate in the UK has risen by over GBP 40 000 despite salaries remaining static.

UK overtakes Japan as most expensive country to send expatriates

Press releases   •   May 21, 2019 14:37 BST

- The average pay package for an expatriate in the UK has risen by over GBP 40 000 despite salaries remaining static - Overall annual cost of sending an expat middle manager to the UK is now GBP 311 240, 82% of which is to cover tax and essential costs - Swiss salaries highest in Europe, GBP 10 992 more than UK mid-level pay

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About ECA International

ECA International is the market leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

We provide data, software and expertise to multinational companies to help them manage and reward their international staff effectively.

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