Expat safety survey takes in 230 world cities

Published:  30 May at 4 PM
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A recent survey has revealed that, although most expats believe European cities are relatively safe, the top-scoring locations are the most expensive.

In spite of the recent horrific terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, the majority of expats still believe Europe to be the safest continent for working relocations or retirement. The study took in political stability, crime in general, the effectiveness of local police forces and each country’s relationship with its bordering nations, surveying 230 popular expat destinations.

The top-scoring cities were Luxembourg, Bern, Helsinki, Zurich and Vienna, all known for their upscale amenities and high costs of living. Although expat professionals working overseas will have been given suitable relocation packages related to local costs, retirees with less exalted means and those simply wishing to live abroad might well have to exchange security for affordability.

Respondents to the survey made it clear that personal safety was high on their lists of requirements when considering whether to accept a relocation posting. As a result, the top ten places in the list of safely-conscious destinations were filled by European cities.

London and Paris dropped way down the full list of 230 cities at numbers 71 and 72, mostly due to concerns over social unrest as well as terrorist attacks.In at number 26 was Singapore, an unsurprising result considering its tiny size and efficient law enforcement, but the USA was unable to get a single city into the top 50.

Several Canadian cities did well, but all Mexican metropolises fell down on fears of drug-related gang violence. The five major Japanese cities, Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, Nagoya and Kobe, all tied for 32nd place with Hong Kong following at 37th, but the rest of Asia including China and India lagged far behind.

Unlike many such, the Quality of Living survey conducted by Mercers is considered reputable and has been a reliable guide for expats over the past 17 years. Locations formerly considered safe have dropped down the list, including Bangkok with its 173rd ranking for personal safety. The African continent including the Middle East has few destinations considered as relatively safe, with the majority of its large cities well below the 100 mark. However, Dubai and Abu Dhabi scored 40th and 23rd respectively.
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