Taipei ranked No. 1 city in world for expats

Taipei retains title as best city in world for expats to live and work abroad

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Taipei skyline

Taipei skyline (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taipei retains its title as the best city for expats to live and work according to InterNations, one of the world’s largest expat networks.

In the InterNations report titled, "The Best & Worst Cities for Expats in 2019," Taipei defended its first-place ranking from last year. The organization said that Taipei maintained its spot at the top because of the local quality of life.

Trailing Taipei in second place was Kuala Lumpur, followed by Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Montreal, Lisbon, Barcelona, Zug, The Hague, and Basel. The bottom 10 spots included Yangon, New York City, Lima, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris, Lagos, Milan, Rome, and in last place at 82nd, Kuwait City.

InterNations generated the rankings after surveying more than 20,000 expats in 82 cities around the world and ranking the metropolises in four major indexes: Quality of Urban Living, Getting Settled, Urban Work Life, and Finance & Housing. Respondents were asked to rate more than 25 aspects of life in a given city on a scale of one to seven.

A respondent from Paraguay, one of Taiwan's remaining diplomatic allies, praised the convenience of Taipei: "I love the convenience of everything in Taipei: access to food, great transportation, and cheap medical service."

Taiwan's capital city also maintained its fourth-place ranking in the Financing & Housing Index this year. Over 65 percent of respondents said their disposable household income was more than enough to cover all living expenses, well above the worldwide average of 49 percent.

In addition, 21 percent of expats in Taipei reported earning a gross yearly income of over US$150,000, well over the 9 percent of respondents seen globally. When asked if housing is affordable, 55 percent expats based in Taipei agreed, well above the global average of 36 percent.

Although Taipei has managed to maintain its grip on the top spot overall, it has dropped significantly in certain subcategories. Taipei saw its ranking in the 2018 Urban Work Life Index drop from 2nd out of 72 cities to 20th this year, out of 82 cities.

Expats continue to report enjoying their work-life balance, with a favorability rating of 76 percent compared to 60 percent worldwide, but it failed to excel in any other factors in the Urban Work Life Index. For example, 69 percent rate the state of the local economy favorably, the same as the global average of 69 percent, and well below the 2018 rating of 84 percent.

In the Getting Settled Index, expats still give local friendliness high marks at fourth and finding friends and socializing at ninth. However, it has dropped from third place overall in the index in 2018 to 18th this year.