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What Expats Think About Life in Istanbul

Kadıköy İstanbul

InterNations, the world’s largest expat community with around 4 million members, publishes its Expat City Ranking 2021.

It is based on the annual Expat Insider survey, which is one of the most extensive surveys about living and working abroad. This year, 12,420 expats participated in the survey.

In 2021, 57 cities around the globe are analyzed in the Expat City Ranking, offering in-depth information about five areas of expat life: Quality of Urban Living, Getting Settled, Urban Work Life, Finance & Housing, and Local Cost of Living. Taken together, the first four areas make up the Expat City Ranking, which reveals the best and worst cities for expats to live in.

What Expats Think About Life in Istanbul

Istanbul ranks 54th out of 57 in the Expat City Ranking 2021. Expats are extremely unhappy with their working life, rating the city the second-worst worldwide in this index (56th). What is more, the quality of life (40th) and the ease of getting settled (36th) are also perceived as poor. While the city’s above-average rank in the Finance & Housing Index (26th) is mainly due to the housing situation, expats agree that the cost of living is generally good (17th).

Expat City Ranking 2021 Istanbul

The Expat City Ranking is based on the annual Expat Insider survey by InterNations, which is one of the most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, with 12,420 respondents in 2021. This year, 57 cities around the globe are analyzed in the survey, which offers in-depth information about five areas of expat life: Quality of Urban Living, Getting Settled, Urban Work Life, Finance & Housing, and Local Cost of Living. Together, the first four topics make up the Expat City Ranking, which reveals the best and worst cities for expats to live in.

Istanbul (54th out of 57) lands in the bottom 10 of the Expat City Ranking 2021. It even comes in second to last in the Urban Work Life Index (56th), where only Rome performs worse. Istanbul ranks among the bottom 10 of every factor in this index, even placing last worldwide for the state of the local economy (52% unhappy vs. 19% globally), working hours (33% vs. 16% globally), and work-life balance (33% vs. 17% globally). What is more, expats are unhappy with their job security (38% vs. 20% globally) and local career opportunities (44% vs. 33% globally).

Istanbul performs somewhat better in the Quality of Urban Living Index (40th), despite particularly poor results for political stability (52nd) and the urban environment (50th). Three in ten expats (30%) rate the latter negatively, compared to 16% globally. When it comes to the Getting Settled Index (36th), 51% find it hard to live in Istanbul without speaking the local language (vs. 29% globally). An Italian expat explains that “if you do not speak the Turkish language, it is difficult to navigate life here”, while a Spanish expat says that “the language is very difficult, and no one speaks English”.

On the bright side, Istanbul has an above-average performance in the Local Cost of Living Index (17th). “The cost of living is low,” says a British expat. “Good-quality food does not cost much.” However, this is not reflected in the Finance Subcategory (53rd), which is part of the Finance & Housing Index (26th). More than three in ten each are dissatisfied with their financial situation (32% vs. 19% globally) and feel that their disposable household income is not enough to cover expenses (31% vs. 23% globally). However, housing is considered affordable (50% vs. 42% globally).

These Cities Are the Best and Worst in the World for Expats

Out of 57 cities in the Expat City Ranking 2021, Kuala Lumpur (1st), Málaga, Dubai, Sydney, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Prague, Mexico City, Basel, and Madrid (10th) are the top 10 cities for expats to live in 2021. On the other hand, expats consider Rome (57th), Milan, Johannesburg, Istanbul, Tokyo, Cairo, Paris, Maastricht, Moscow, and New York (48th) the world’s worst cities to live in.  

 

Expat City Ranking 2021 Best Worst Cities

See the full details of the survey here

 

 

 

 

 

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