Global Expat Survey 2017

Female? Check. In a relationship? Check. US-American? Check. Turns out, I am a completely average expat in Germany. Go figure.

InterNations, a popular expat network, recently released its annual Expat Insider report. Of the over 12,500 respondents, Germany was the most-represented nation – nearly 800 expats in Germany participated in the survey (I didn’t, in case you were curious). Survey participants were asked to rate up to 43 different factors concerning various aspects of life abroad on a scale of 1 to 7.

Demographics of Expats in Germany

The figure above shows the demographics of the expat respondents in Germany. Most of the expats in Germany came from the US, just like me. In fact, of all Americans that responded to the survey, 9% were living in Germany. The majority were also female and in a relationship. The only area where I don’t represent the average expat is age (whew!).

Life in Germany for Expats

Overall, Germany seems to be a pretty good place to live for expats – it ranked #10 in Quality of Life, which was driven by Germany’s economic security and stable job prospects. I definitely agree with the high ranking in this area. As many of you know, I just found a full-time job in Germany earlier this year. My workplace is very international, especially in the technical departments, where many German companies find the need to recruit international talent.

Unfortunately, expats in Germany do not feel very welcome by the locals, causing Germany to be ranked in the bottom 10 of countries in the area of “ease of settling in.” I will look more into why this is in the coming days in a mini Expat Insider Series. So check back soon!

If you are an expat (or any “person living abroad” as I don’t love the “expat” label), how would you rate your quality of life? Is it higher than it would be in your home country?

  • Ami Schwabenland

    I’m a 48-yr-old American living permanently in Germany, and despite the fact that my parents and adult children live in the US, my quality of life here in Germany is over the top. I’ll put my satisfaction rate/score at 99% satisfied, though I couldn’t tell you why it isn’t 100% (I just feel like nothing is 100%). My satisfaction level in my passport country might have been 55%, but if I had to move back after being in Germany for 5 years, it would be much lower. In Germany the history, the culture, the food, the challenge of the language, the people, the fact that opportunities to learn fascinating things are all around me constantly – including in the local paper… it all feeds my soul. I belong here.

    • First of all, I like the term “passport country” – I always struggle using the terms “home vs. host country” because, for most expats, they become synonymous with time.

      Back to the topic at hand. I love how you describe your satisfaction with living in Germany, as I feel very much the same. I especially agree with your statement that “if I had to move back after being in Germany for 5 years, it would be much lower.” Germany has definitely raised my standards, and I am very happy to be here.

      • Reverse culture shock. Totally get it, the longer your gone the less you fit it. You go home and everything looks familuar but nothing is the same. A few years back I remember standing in a Tim Hortons trying to figure out how to order as they had changed the system!

      • Ami Schwabenland

        I’m sure I picked up “passport country” from another blogger. For me home is definitely here, but the word also refers to where my family is. The place/country means nothing to me – it’s the people that make it home. I’m glad you’re happy here, too!

  • I’m surprised that the average German expat/immigrant is female! Here almost all of our native speaking friends are men married to Czech women (or hoping to be).
    The reason we haven’t moved back to the U.S. yet is because we do experience a much higher quality of life than we did back in the States…. that said, at the time of our leaving, we were living in a major metropolitan city, had low paying jobs, and most of our $$ was going to rent. Although life in Seattle was probably more exciting, I feel far more contentment on a daily basis living here.