Tech-phobic and unfriendly: Germany slumps in new ranking of expat countries

Tech-phobic and unfriendly: Germany slumps in new ranking of expat countries

How do expats around the world rate life in their adopted country? That’s something that the Expat Insider survey has been asking for the past nine years. The results for 2022 have just dropped, and Germany has put in one of its poorest-ever performances.

Expat Insider survey 2022

The ninth Expat Insider survey has been released by InterNations, the world’s largest expat community. This year’s survey asked 12.000 respondents from all over the world to rate expat life in 52 different countries according to five different scoring categories:

  • Quality of Life (travel, environment, leisure options, health and wellbeing)
  • Ease of Settling In (local friendliness, finding friends, culture and welcome)
  • Working Abroad (career prospects, salaries and job security, work culture and satisfaction)
  • Personal Finance
  • Expat Essentials (digital life, admin topics, housing and local language)

This year’s ranking was topped by familiar faces Mexico, Indonesia and Taiwan, where expats praised the ease of settling in and their personal financial situations, while Kuwait, New Zealand and Hong Kong came bottom of the ranking.

Expats in Germany unhappy about digital life and social lives

The addition of the new Expat Essentials category made this year’s ranking very tough for Germany, which saw its position slide from a relatively respectable 36th out of 59 in 2021, to 42nd out of 52 in 2022, only just outside the bottom top 10.

This dramatic slide down the rankings is largely due to the federal republic landing bottom of the heap in the Expat Essentials category. As InterNations explains, “This crushing verdict is due to its bottom 10 results in three out of four subcategories: Housing (47th) Digital Life (48th) and Language (49th)."

Indeed, the survey results read like a rap sheet of issues that expats in Germany will be all too familiar with. Among the aspects most negatively rated included the competitive German housing market, the trickiness of learning German and the overall woeful state of digital life, including the low availability of government services online, the lack of cashless options and sub-par access to high-speed internet.

Once again, expats also highlighted the difficulties they had settling in in Germany. Overall in this category the federal republic ranked in the bottom five, being one of the 10 worst-rated destinations for each sub-category. More than a third of expats said they were unhappy with their social lives, while a quarter said they found the local population unfriendly. Nearly one in four said they did not feel welcome in Germany. 

Satisfaction with working lives and environment much higher

On the other hand, Germany fared a little better in other categories - even making it close to the top 10 (12th overall) in the Working Abroad index, and claiming fifth place on the Salary & Job Security Subcategory - although some expats did feel that creativity was not encouraged in the German business culture. Nine out of 10 expats rated the German economy favourably, and said they were able to enjoy a stable life in Germany.

Germany also scored a pretty good 15th place in the Quality of Life Index, with high scores in Safety & Security and Environment & Climate. Expats expressed that they felt safe in the federal republic, while green goods and services are readily available. When it comes to transportation, the general feeling was that infrastructure for driving, walking and cycling is there, but that public transport could be made more affordable. 

The best expat countries in the world

Overall, the top 10 countries around the world for expats in 2022, according to InterNations, are as follows:

  1. Mexico
  2. Indonesia
  3. Taiwan
  4. Portugal 
  5. Spain
  6. UAE
  7. Vietnam
  8. Thailand 
  9. Australia
  10. Singapore

For more information on the survey, including a detailed breakdown of the scores, visit the InterNations website.



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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