SURVEY: Foreign residents rank Italy one of 'worst countries in world' for finances and working abroad

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SURVEY: Foreign residents rank Italy one of 'worst countries in world' for finances and working abroad
Some 30 percent of Italy's foreign residents say they're unhappy with their financial situation, against a 19 percent global average among expats. Photo: Tim Gouw/Unsplash"

Foreigners who move to Italy are less satisfied with their financial situation than in any other country, a new survey of international residents has found.


A third of foreign residents in Italy say their disposable household income is not enough to cover their expenses, according to the 2021 edition of the annual Expat Insider survey by InterNations, an information and networking site for people living overseas.

Italy fared poorly in the annual survey yet again, coming 58th out of 59 countries overall for living and working abroad. Only Kuwait placed lower. (Note: We have our own survey at the bottom of the page if you disagree.)

Its performance was especially dismal in the categories of work and personal finance, in which it placed second to last and last respectively.

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Some 42 percent of respondents reported making less than $25,000 per year, compared to the global average of 30 percent. And 30 percent of those surveyed in Italy said they were unhappy with their financial situation, versus just 19 percent worldwide.

"I notice financial corruption and do not like the low salaries," wrote one respondent from the United States.


Italy also came bottom for "career prospects and satisfaction", with more than half of foreign residents (56 percent) rating their work opportunities negatively and nearly a third (31 percent) saying they were dissatisfied with their current job.

Among the complaints were lack of job security, a weak local economy, inflexible working hours and poor work-life balance.

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"Finding a job is not easy for foreigners, not even for the well-educated ones," said an Iranian respondent.

Unsurprisingly Italy got its highest marks for quality of life, and especially weather, travel and leisure options. But even in this area, lack of high-speed internet and the difficulty of doing admin online dragged down its score.

More surprisingly, given the complaints about personal finances, Italy also did well on cost of living, placing 32nd out of 59. Foreign residents were particularly impressed by the price of healthcare, with more than two-thirds (67 percent) saying it was affordable.

About the same proportion (66 percent) said they were happy with their life in Italy in general – which, though a majority, is noticeably less than the 75 percent who report being satisfied worldwide.

Italy repeatedly scores poorly in the annual InterNations survey, with work and earnings reliably one of the biggest sources of foreign residents' complaints.

Image: InterNations Expat Insider 2021 Survey

It slipped a few more places between the 2020 and 2021 rankings, though InterNations cautions that this year's results have been exceptionally affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The top three countries chosen by international residents were Taiwan (1st), Mexico (2nd) and Costa Rica (3rd), while Italy (58th) was joined at the bottom by Kuwait (59th) and South Africa (57th).

For its 2021 survey, InterNations asked more than 12,000 people living abroad to rate up to 37 different aspects of life in their new country. Each country included was rated by at least 50 respondents.


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