Since Forbes has released this annual survey, they have always been among the first, but in 2023 Malaga reaches first place: it is the best city in the world to live abroad, according to the annual ranking carried out by the expatriate community InterNations. Alicante and Valencia are second and third among a total of 49 cities evaluated around the world.
Forbes magazine has echoed in its digital editions for the United States and France the result of this classification, for which InterNations surveyed more than 12,000 expatriates from around the world, people of 177 nationalities, residing in 181 countries or territories.
According to those surveyed, Málaga is the city rated highest for local friendliness: 89% say its neighbors are especially friendly to foreign residents (compared to 65% globally) and its climate comes in first place. The capital of the Costa del Sol also appears in first place in the subcategories of work and leisure and reconciliation of work and family life. On the negative side, it ranks 41st in the local job market. In general, 88% of foreigners are happy with their life in Malaga, compared to 72% globally.
In second place in the InterNations ranking is Alicante, which falls short of first largely due to its ranking in the bottom ten in the work abroad index (40th place): expats say that the local business culture does not encourages creativity, independent work or flexibility.
Alicante stands out in ease of settling in (second) and occupies first place on the list in the subcategory of culture and welcome. Foreigners feel welcome and at home, and are very happy with their social life.
The city also ranks first in affordable housing and fifth in the quality of life index, according to respondents, who enjoy the excellent local leisure offering.
In third place out of 49 is Valencia, which is first in the world in the quality of life index and third in leisure offer, as well as the best valued for its opportunities to practice recreational sports. Both the affordability and availability of healthcare rank among the best in the world for expats, who praise the overall cost of living (third) in Valencia.
Forbes cites a statement from InterNations in which this organization assures that Malaga, Alicante and Valencia have several things in common, such as ease of settling, a high quality of life and excellent rankings in personal finances, which "translates into welcoming cultures." that make life enjoyable and affordable.
After Valencia are Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), in fourth and fifth place, and are followed by Madrid in sixth place, which together with Barcelona (13th place) complete the Spanish cities selected on this list.
The two worst ranked are Milan and Rome (Italy), in positions 49 and 48, respectively, followed by Vancouver (Canada), in 47.