The best countries to live in outside Spain


The cities with the cheapest rents are Buenos Aires, Athens and Santiago de Chile, while the most expensive are San Francisco, New York and Hong Kong.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, the number of Spaniards who are leaving the country to live abroad has only continued to grow. According to data from the official register for Spanish residents living abroad, 76,197 more were added to the list over the last year, which was already at a total of 2,482,808 on January 1, 2018, 3.2% up on the year before.

According to the Spanish National Statistics Institute, the United Kingdom, the United States and France have seen the biggest increase in the number of Spanish residents. It is also worth noting that 64% of unemployed Spaniards between 20 and 34 years old would be willing to move abroad to get a job, according to data collected by Eurostat. Their study also discovered that the level of education plays an important role in this decision, and young people from the EU with higher qualifications are more willing to move for their career. 16% of young people with the highest level of education would be open to moving abroad for work, while this falls to 11% for those with an intermediate level of education and 10% for those with the lowest level.

In order to find out which countries would be the best places for people with these profiles to live, Spotahome, an online platform that allows users to rent a home 100% online, without visiting it in person, has drawn up a report on “The best cities for digital nomads”. This study compares 56 cities around the world, analysing the latest data available from official and accredited international sources. (1)

Acceptance of immigrants and tolerance

One of the biggest issues is tolerance and acceptance of immigrants. The top spots in this category go to New Zealand, Canada and Australia, with the major cities in these countries occupying the top 10 positions in the list. Barcelona and Madrid are around the middle of the table, at number 20 and 21, respectively. At the other extreme in terms of tolerance are Prague, Bratislava and Budapest.

Quality of life: green areas, climate and leisure

According to the Human Development Index, published annually by the United Nations (UN), Spain is ranked at number five for quality of life. It comes as no surprise that culture shock can be difficult for Spanish emigrants to deal with. Spotahome’s ranking combines a number of different parameters, such as green space and parks, hours of sunshine and the cost of beer – three indicators for quality of life that are certainly very Spanish.

The cities with the best green spaces are Vilnius in Lithuania, Vancouver in Canada and Geneva in Switzerland. Spanish cities come very, very far down on the table, with Madrid at number 41 and Barcelona coming in at 53rd, only three places away from the worst city on the table: Athens.

In terms of hours of sunshine, the three top cities are Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Los Angeles. Madrid is ranked at number 13, while Barcelona is at number 17. Dublin, Edinburgh and Belfast round off the bottom of the table.

And last but not least, the cost of beer. Going out for a drink is often an intrinsic part of how Spaniards like to spend their free time. The best cities in the world in terms of beer are Prague, Bratislava and Budapest. Barcelona (14) and Madrid (21) are lower down the list than expected, while the bottom of the table includes Oslo, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Cheap rents versus unaffordable accommodation

The cities with the cheapest rents for a one bedroom apartment are Buenos Aires, Athens and Santiago de Chile, while the most expensive prices can be found in San Francisco, New York and Hong Kong. As a reference point, despite the escalation of rental prices in Madrid and Barcelona the cities are positioned around the middle of the table, in positions 20 and 24 respectively.

One of the biggest problems faced by professionals with high geographical mobility is accommodation. It is often difficult to find short-term rentals, or apartments need to be visited in person. Sometimes there isn’t even any information at all, which can make it very difficult to find somewhere to live.

Spotahome is a Spanish startup that manages long-term or residential rental accommodation, for periods of over 30 days. You can rent houses, rooms in shared flats or accommodation in student residences via Spotahome’s app and website. The accommodation options are shown online thanks to first-person HD videos that show each property in detail via high-quality 360º photographs, the floor plans for each property, exhaustive descriptions and information on the neighbourhood. All the information is put together by members of the Spotahome team who visit each location to take photos, videos and check the accommodation.

Check out the full study at the link below:


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