Ever daydreamed about packing up everything you own in cardboard boxes and relocating somewhere new – where the sun makes a regular appearance, the beers are cheap and the quality of life is high? With the rise of flexible working, this dream is becoming a reality for many. We compared 25 cities based on 10 factors including employment rate, cost of living, safety and healthcare to help you decide where you’d most like to relocate to.
There are pockets of towns and villages all over the world that have dwindling populations and slower economies, and that need people to move there and breathe new life into them. So much so, they’ve set up schemes to pay you to move there. You’ll either receive funds to start a business, discounted prices on properties (as little as €1) with additional money to help renovate them, or simply cold, hard cash. So, outside of our metrics, which towns, states and countries are worth keeping in mind for their financial incentives alone?
Well, get your cardboard storage boxes at the ready because you may want to move as soon as you read the next sentence. The state of Alaska in the United States has a Permanent Dividend Fund that will pay you an annual incentive of $1,000 (£732) to move there. Or, if the bears and snow don’t entice you, you can opt for the sunny climes of Santiago in Chile. Start-Up Chile will give you 25 million pesos (£23,000) to relocate and start your business. And with an affordability score of 9, you’ll be able to enjoy everything the country has to offer, too.
If you fancy somewhere a little closer to home, Albinen, Switzerland, will offer you 25,000 CHF (£19,635) per individual, or double that for couples, to build a home or live in the village for at least 10 years. Plus, it’s only a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Zurich, the city that ranks the highest on the wellbeing and employment scores.
One of the most important things to look for when you move to a new city is whether there’ll be a job for you when you get there. We delved into the employment rate and average wage of various cities to help make your decision.
Zurich claimed the top spot for the employment score. It earned itself the perfect score of 10 for average wage, as well as third place for employment rates with a score of 8 (behind Port Louis in Mauritius and Athens in Greece). London, Berlin and Austin take joint second place for the work metrics, each scoring a 6.
All work and no play makes for a pretty miserable time, right? When you move somewhere, you’ll want to make sure you can afford to explore everything the place has to offer, including sampling the food and ticking things off your bucket list. This is why we looked at the cost of living, average rent, cost of a pint and cost of the national dish to see how each country ranked on affordability.
Delhi, India, takes the crown for the most affordable places to live, scoring a perfect 10 across all metrics, except the cost of national dish (for which it scored a 9). If you already have a job and are able to work remotely, opting for cheaper places to live like Delhi might be a winning combination. You can enjoy a lower cost of living on the same wage you’re on now, and have more disposable income for the things you love most.
Behind Delhi is Chiang Mai in Thailand, where you can enjoy the national dish and a pint for just £3.32. At the other end of the spectrum, the least affordable place to live is Hong Kong where the average cost of a meal and a pint will set you back £42.13.
Healthcare, safety and overall quality of life are also important boxes to tick when it comes to your wellbeing. We took a look at the safety, healthcare and quality of life (which looks at combined indices such as purchasing power, traffic commute time, pollution and climate) scores to find out which city has the best wellbeing score.
For the city that has the highest wellbeing score, look no further than Zurich. It scored 10s on the safety and quality of life scores but earned only a 7 for healthcare (for which Chiang Mai scored the highest). Copenhagen, Tokyo and Chiang Mai are tied in second place with an overall wellbeing score of 8, and Vancouver is in third with a score of 7. As well as enjoying everything these cities have to offer, you’ll also have some peace of mind about your wellbeing.
We assessed 25 cities on 10 different factors that are important when looking to move to a different country. All data was collected in September 2021. To standardise our results and help rank the cities, we applied a formula to rank each metric evenly between 1-10, with 1 being the lowest score and 10 being the highest. We were only able to give a score where data was available. If there was no data available, we awarded it a score of 0.
The formula used was: Score(i) = 10 * ( ( (x(i) - x(min) ) /( (x(max) - x(min) ) )