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'The cost of living is far too high': Vancouver lands in bottom 10 cities in the world for expats

"If you don’t have a very high income, you don’t have much money left after paying your bills,” a French expat lamented. 
Metro Vancouver rent prices rose again in November 2022, making adjustments to life in a new city difficult for expats.

Vancouver has ranked among the ten worst cities to live and work for expats, according to a new report. 

In its annual Expat City Ranking, InterNations features the best and worst countries for expatriates (people who live outside of their native country) to reside and work.  

The company surveyed 11,970 expats from 181 countries to gather their "opinions on life abroad in general" and about the city in which they currently reside. Topics covered include the city’s leisure options, the search for housing, the local job market, and their social life abroad.

The respondents rated up to 56 different aspects of life abroad on a scale of one to seven that covered everything from the ease of finding friends to accessing affordable healthcare.

The ranking included 50 countries around the world, with the top three destinations — Valencia, Dubai, and Mexico City — praised for their respective "ease of settling in."

The beautiful Spanish city of Valencia received the top honour and is described as "livable, friendly, and affordable." Overall, the birthplace of the beloved "Valencia orange" offers "expats a great quality of life abroad."

Following Valencia, Dubai came second, with expats reporting that they found work easily and government services were readily available in the ultra-modern metropolis. 

Expats described locals as "generally friendly" in Mexico City, which ranked third overall. They also praised Mexico's capital for its career opportunities and housing. 

Vancouver landed in the bottom ten cities for expats, placing 43rd overall. Other cities that placed toward the bottom of the list included Rome in 41st, Tokyo in 42nd, Hong Kong in 46th, and Paris in 48th. Johannesburg landed in the 50th spot. 

Vancouver wound up at the bottom of the Personal Finance Index, however, ranking 50th out of 50 cities worldwide. Expats said they were particularly unhappy with the general cost of living, with 69 per cent rating it negatively or nearly twice the global average (35%).

“The cost of living is far too high. If you don’t have a very high income, you don’t have much money left after paying your bills,” a French expat lamented. 

Metro Vancouver rent prices rose again in November, climbing to an average of $2,317 per month for an unfurnished one-bedroom rental unit. 

Top ten cities for expats in the world

  1. Valencia, Spain
  2. Dubai, UAE
  3. Mexico City
  4. Lisbon, Portugal
  5. Madrid, Spain
  6. Bangkok, Thailand
  7. Basel, Switzerland
  8. Melbourne, Australia
  9. Abu Dhabi, UAE
  10. Singapore