Johannesburg: The World’s Worst Expat Destination
The city also ends up as the worst city worldwide in the Quality of Life Index (50th). Expats are extremely unhappy with the affordability (25% unhappy vs. 15% globally) and availability (39% vs. 17% globally) of public transportation. Close to three in five (59%) do not find it easy and safe to get around by foot and/or bicycle (vs. 13% globally) — 32% even describe it as extremely unsafe, eight times the global average (4%). The city ranks last worldwide for both this factor and personal safety in general: 62% do not feel safe in Johannesburg, compared to 9% globally.
Johannesburg ranks 49th in the Working Abroad Index, only ahead of Istanbul (50th). Expats rate the local job market (38% unhappy vs. 27% globally) and their personal career opportunities (29% vs. 22% globally) negatively, and about a quarter (24%) say that moving there has not improved their career prospects (vs. 18% globally). Since expats in Johannesburg also tend to be dissatisfied with their job security (34% unhappy vs. 20% globally), the state of the economy (36% vs. 17% globally), and their work-life balance (23% vs. 19% globally), it is no surprise that 24% are unhappy with their job in general (vs. 16% globally).
Interestingly, while only a slightly above average share of expats feel they are not paid fairly for their job (22% vs. 20% globally), results in the Personal Finance Index (47th) look much worse. Expats are unsatisfied with their personal finances (41% unhappy vs. 21% globally), and 44% say that their disposable household income is not enough to lead a comfortable life (vs. 28% globally). In fact, Johannesburg ranks last worldwide (50th) for both factors.
At least housing is affordable, according to 46% of expats (vs. 39% globally), which is one reason why Johannesburg still lands in 36th place in the Expat Essentials Index. On the other hand, expats rate the availability of administrative/government services online negatively (41% unhappy vs. 21% globally), and 34% struggle to open a local bank account (vs. 21% globally).
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