Digital life in Germany is the second worst in Europe

Digital life in Germany is the second worst in Europe

According to expats, Germany is one of the worst countries in Europe when it comes to digital life abroad, a new study has shown. No matter whether you’re looking for quick internet connections, cashless payments or government services online, it seems the federal republic is decidedly not where it’s at.

InterNations Digital Life Abroad 2018

Most of us have will have experienced the culture shock of moving to a new country, but usually it is strange food or unfamiliar customs that make internationals feel far away from home. In Germany, however, it seems that the biggest shock for new arrivals is the country’s decidedly backward attitude towards digital connectivity.

InterNations’ Digital Life Abroad report surveyed more than 18.000 expats living in 68 different countries worldwide. Their observations about digital life in Germany pushed Europe’s “economic powerhouse” into a decidedly underwhelming 53rd place. Within Europe, the only country to rank lower was Italy.

Germany scores badly on internet and credit cards

To rank the countries according to the quality of their digital offering, survey respondents were asked to rate their satisfaction with the following factors: unrestricted access to online services such as social media; the availability of government or administrative services online; the ease of getting a local mobile phone; the ease of paying without cash; and the ease of getting high-speed internet at home.  

As well as performing poorly within Europe, Germany also ranked among the bottom 10 countries worldwide in two categories: getting a local mobile phone number (61st) and paying without cash (59th). Overall, the federal republic ranked 53rd out of 68. Only half of the respondents agreed that it is easy to pay with credit and debit cards in Germany, with many venting their annoyance that Germany is still largely a cash society.

Poor digital score lowers Germany’s overall ranking

The 2018 survey was the first time that digital life had been used as a marker for the quality of expat life abroad. Germany’s poor score in this regard meant that, for the first time since 2014, it did not reach the top 10 countries overall, slipping to 26th place.

In contrast, some countries benefited from this new category in the ranking. For instance, despite low marks in some other areas, Sweden was able to rise to position 11, thanks to its high scores for high-speed internet and cashless payments.

Best “Digital Life” countries, 2018

Worldwide, Estonia came out on top - not bad for a first-time entry in the Expat Insider Survey! European countries Finland, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands also made it into the top 10 worldwide. France and Italy both joined Germany at the lower end of the ranking, placing 35th and 57th respectively. The country with the lowest overall score worldwide was Myanmar.

The top 10 countries were as follows:

  • 1. Estonia
  • 2. Finland
  • 3. Norway
  • 4. Denmark
  • 5. New Zealand
  • 6. Israel
  • 7. Canada
  • 8. Singapore
  • 9. Netherlands
  • 10. USA

And the bottom 10 countries were:

  • 59. Uganda
  • 60. Turkey
  • 61. Peru
  • 62. Indonesia
  • 63. Saudi Arabia
  • 64. Philippines
  • 65. India
  • 66. Egypt
  • 67. China
  • 68. Myanmar

You can find the full ranking, with details of how the scores are calculated, in the Digital Life Abroad report.



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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