Ranked: The World’s 20 Best Cities To Live

What are the best cities to live in the world? InterNations—the largest global community for people who live and work abroad—has just released its annual Expat City Ranking, a report on the best places to live in the world 2023.

The list ranked 49 cities, based on how expats feel about living and working abroad in the last year. To come up with the list, InterNations surveyed more than 12,000 expats worldwide, representing 177 nationalities and living in 181 countries or territories. The report considered factors such as quality of life, ease of settling in, personal finance and more.

The World’s Best City To Live

This year, Malaga, Spain came in number one—making it the world’s best city to live and work. One of the oldest cities in the world, Malaga is located in Andalucia on the Costa del Sol (“Coast of the Sun”). This Mediterranean city is known for its rich history, arts and culture scene (Picasso was born here), pleasant climate and great food.

Malaga not only topped the overall list, it also ranked number one for local friendliness and climate and weather; it also came first place in the work and leisure and the work-life balance subcategories. Expats also raved about Malaga’s safety, affordable public transportation, numerous recreational sports and good social life. One big downside: Malaga came in at number 41 for the local job market.

In fact, Spain was a big winner this year, with a total of five cities in the top 20. Two other Spanish cities came in number two and three: Alicante and Valencia (which ranked first in last year’s list). According to InterNations, Malaga, Alicante and Valencia have several things in common—including ease of settling in, high quality of life and strong rankings for personal finance. “This translates into welcoming cultures that allow for an enjoyable and affordable life,” InterNations said it a statement.

Madrid ranked number six, thanks to its strong digital life, good personal finances and high quality of life. Barcelona also appeared in the top 20, coming in at number 13.

How The United States Ranked

This year, expats weren’t as happy in the United States. Last year, Miami and New York City were on the top 20 list. This year, there were no U.S. cities on the top 20 list. New York City dropped from number 16 last year to number 39. Due to the number of responses, Miami was not included on the list this year.

According to InterNations, New York City dropped because expats struggle with many aspects of life there, particularly the high cost of living. “And while the job market thrives, work-life balance suffers,” InterNations said it a statement. “The quality of life also leaves a lot to be desired, but great leisure options at least provide plenty of opportunities to get out and about.”

But it wasn’t all bad: Expats ranked New York City sixth in the leisure options subcategory and second for culinary variety and dining options.

The Lowest Ranked Countries

Coming in at the bottom of the overall list was Milan, Italy at number 49. Rome, Italy came in number 48, followed by Vancouver, Canada at 47.

“Expats in the two Italian hubs share many of the same problems,” InterNations said it a statement. “They get bottom 10 rankings in four out of five of the survey’s indices. Expats are especially disappointed by the low quality of life and poor work conditions. Vancouver, on the other hand, is the place where expats are unhappiest (49th) and where they struggle most with their personal finance (49th).”

Read on for the lists of the world’s 20 best places to live and the 10 lowest ranked places to live. You can also view the complete list here, along with comments from survey respondents.

The World’s 20 Best Cities to Live

  1. Malaga, Spain
  2. Alicante, Spain
  3. Valencia, Spain
  4. Ras Al Khaimah
  5. Abu Dhabi, UAE
  6. Madrid, Spain
  7. Mexico City, Mexico
  8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  9. Bangkok, Thailand
  • Muscat, Oman
  1. Dubai, UAE
  2. Lisbon, Portugal
  3. Barcelona, Spain
  4. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  5. Nairobi, Kenya
  6. Zurich, Switzerland
  7. Athens, Greece
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
  2. The Hague, the Netherlands


The World’s 10 Lowest Ranked Cities To Live In 2023

  1. Milan, Italy (ranked 49 out of 49 countries overall)
  2. Rome, Italy (ranked 48 overall)
  3. Vancouver, Canada (ranked 47 overall)
  4. Hamburg, Germany (ranked 46 overall)
  5. Berlin, Germany (ranked 45 overall)
  6. Dublin, Ireland (ranked 44 overall)
  7. Istanbul, Turkey (ranked 43 overall)
  8. London, U.K. (ranked 42 overall)
  9. Paris, France (ranked 41 overall)
  • Seoul, South Korea (ranked 40 overall)

Source: Forbes

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