If Germany has become too boring for you and you are looking for an adventure abroad, emigration is always an option. But where to? As in previous years, we analyzed 799 cities around the world and reveal the best destinations.
Almost a million people turned their backs on Germany last year, including around 250,000 German citizens. More than three million Germans no longer live in Germany. According to a survey from 2018, more than half of the remaining Germans can also imagine moving abroad temporarily or even permanently. If you are also flirting with this possibility, then there is only one question left: Where to?
To help with the answer, this year we analyzed 799 cities around the world. That is 224 more than in the previous year. Where you end up going is of course a highly individual decision, but perhaps we can make it a little easier. Based on data from the comparison website Numbeo and the career network LinkedIn, the following factors were included in our analysis:
A city can achieve a maximum of 100 points in each category. The individual categories were weighted for the total number of points. As a result, salary and job opportunities play a greater role than weather and air quality. In addition, we only consider one city per country for the top 10 list and even had to throw out two German cities, Munich and Frankfurt am Main, which occupy second and tenth place respectively in the overall ranking.
Before you read the top 10, one more caveat: the cities presented are the best only according to the criteria described above. What we cannot evaluate is, for example, the social life in a city, which languages are spoken there and under what conditions Germans can obtain a (work) visa for the respective country. In addition, no personal preferences are included. Maybe the majority think the weather in the Caribbean is nice, but you prefer it cold – then just skip this city.
Strasbourg, with its 280,000 inhabitants, is just a short detour across the French border. Here is the European Parliament, the German-French TV station Arte and an old town that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Strasbourg scores best for its healthcare system. This gets the twelfth best rating of all cities in the ranking. In all other categories, the border town ranks above average, only the cost of living is high in international comparison – but still slightly lower than in Berlin. Compared to last year, Strasbourg has dropped from seventh to tenth place overall, although it scores 0.6 points more.
The port city of Adelaide on Australia’s south coast is one of the newcomers to this year’s top ten. Adelaide is considered a “Festival City” in Australia due to its many cultural events. A Formula 1 race was also held here until 1995. Economically, the city of 1.3 million inhabitants lives off the Australian armaments industry and oil and gas production. From Frankfurt you need around 22 hours for the 15,700 kilometers to Adelaide.
The cost of living and rents in Adelaide are roughly at the level of German cities such as Berlin, which brings negative points. In all other categories, however, the city achieves values that are well above average. The best rankings are for the purchasing power of the local currency and good air quality. The average net salary here is given by expats as 3,950 euros per month, around 25 percent more than in Berlin.
Last year, no Canadian city made it into the top ten, this time Quebec City is among them. As the name suggests, the city with around 530,000 inhabitants is the capital of the French-speaking region of Quebec in eastern Canada. It lies on the famous St. Lawrence River and has a well-preserved, European-style old town. It is the only one in North America that still has a partially preserved city wall. Quebec City used to be heavily dependent on forestry and agriculture, but has been trying to transform itself into a science city for around 20 years. Accordingly, many tech and biotech companies have their headquarters here today. From Frankfurt it is around 5700 kilometers or a ten-hour flight to Quebec City.
It is one of the 25 cities with the lowest crime rate in the ranking. There are also many plus points for the good air quality, salaries at German level and the high purchasing power of the same. The climate is rated less well. Quebec City is roughly on the same latitude as northern Italy, but the nearby sea ensures short summers and winters with temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees.
The old English industrial city of Coventry in the middle of the country makes one of the biggest leaps forward in the ranking. 106 places better than last year, it is enough for place 7. Coventry is home to 370,000 inhabitants and holds the title of the city on the island furthest from any coast. For a long time, the city made its living from the car industry and mechanical engineering. Since the income from this is declining, the city is now trying to settle financial services, science and creative industries such as design. You can reach Coventry from Frankfurt in around one and a half hours. The distance is only 750 kilometers.
The big city scores in the ranking above all with its job opportunities. The region, which also includes the nearby cities of Birmingham and Leicester, has many open jobs. The average net salary is slightly above the Berlin level. The quality of life is worse: Coventry has the highest crime rate of all top ten cities and also the worst rated health system in the top ten.
As in the previous year, Tokyo placed just ahead of Yokohama as the best Japanese city. However, it is down three places to rank 6. Tokyo is for mega-metropolis lovers. 13.9 million people live here in an area a little more than twice the size of Berlin. They generate a fifth of Japan’s gross domestic product, primarily in the service sector.
Tokyo is a very expensive piece of land. Rents and living costs are slightly above the Berlin level, the average net salary is slightly below 2700 euros. In return, the city offers an outstanding health system, little crime and currently around 450,000 vacancies for emigrants – the tenth most of all 799 cities.
One place down from last year is the best Danish city. Aalborg is the country’s fourth largest city with 140,000 inhabitants and is located in the north of our neighbor’s mainland. The economy relies heavily on industry, especially chemicals, textiles, metal and shipbuilding. A number of theatres, the opera and museums also make Aalborg a cultural center of Denmark.
The average income is very high at just under 3,300 euros net, and purchasing power is on a German level. However, Aalborg gets outstanding values for the pleasant traffic, the good air and the cleanliness of the city. It could be difficult for emigrants to find a job here. There are currently only around 3,000 vacancies.
Leuven is the first Belgian city to make the top ten. The capital of the Flanders region with around 100,000 inhabitants delights with its old town and large university. Global beer brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev is also headquartered here. The university, which is considered the most innovative in Europe, also produces many spin-off companies in the tech and electronics sectors. From Germany it is a short hop to Leuven. Aachen is only around 100 kilometers away.
Leuven gets the most points with the third best healthcare system of all cities in the ranking. In addition, the crime rate is low and the job offer in the city and region is plentiful. Although the average net income is not that high at 2400 euros, the rents are also significantly cheaper than in major German cities.
Qingdao jumped from 9th place to 3rd place as the best Chinese city this year. German emigrants have always appreciated Qingdao or Tsingtao. In 1903 they founded a brewery here that still exists today and sells Tsingtao beer, which is popular in China and Southeast Asia. The former German colonial city is now a metropolis with 7.6 million inhabitants on the Pacific Ocean in north-eastern China. The people here live from the textile industry, fishing, and the production of household electronics and tires.
Qingdao has the fourth lowest crime rate of all 799 cities in the ranking. In most other categories, the city achieves above-average, but not exceptionally good ratings. There are deductions for the pollution and the somewhat cold climate. The average net salary of the equivalent of 924 euros per month is not very high either, although the low prices in the city partially compensate for this.
Last year, Raleigh was the best-rated city in the world, now it’s down to second place. Overall, the USA dominates the ranking. 14 of the 25 highest-scoring cities are here. However: Compared to the previous year, almost all points and places have been lost – including Raleigh.
Raleigh is the capital of the state of North Carolina. It is home to around 470,000 inhabitants, the metropolitan region has 1.4 million people. The “City of Oaks” lives mainly from the health and pharmaceutical industry. It is also a center of biotech research within the USA.
The cost of living and rent are up to 30 percent higher than in Berlin. The average salary is also significantly higher at around 4700 euros net, which also gives an excellent rating for the purchasing power of the salary. Around 160,000 vacancies are also an excellent number worldwide. There are drawbacks in addition to the high prices for transport. If you don’t have a car in Raleigh, you’d be stuck, a half-hour commute is the average.
The Hague takes the lead in the rankings by a wide margin, replacing last year’s winner Raleigh. In addition, the city with its 550,000 inhabitants surpasses Almere as the best place in the Netherlands. Almere was in second place worldwide last year. The Hague is the seat of the Dutch government. The King of the Netherlands, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, Europol and many other international organizations are also enthroned here. For culture lovers there are numerous art museums.
The Hague owes its top spot to the fact that it is in at least the top 180 cities in all categories. The city gets the most points for its more than 100,000 vacancies with an average net salary of 3,400 euros. The only exception to the good values are the rents and the cost of living. They are a bit cheaper than in Berlin, but in international comparison, The Hague is a very expensive city.
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