Milan and Rome ranked 'worst' cities for foreigners to move to - again

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Milan and Rome ranked 'worst' cities for foreigners to move to - again
Milan was rated the worst world city for foreign residents in a new survey. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP.

Italy's two largest cities continue to perform poorly when it comes to bureaucracy, job satisfaction, and overall quality of life, say international residents.


You might think life in an Italian city is all about dressing fashionably, browsing museums and galleries, dining at world-class restaurants and drinking afternoon spritz on the piazza.

But according to the latest annual survey from InterNations, an information and networking site for people living overseas, the reality for foreign residents of Italy's two largest urban centres is a far cry from the Italian dream.

InterNation's 2023 Expat City Ranking, based on a survey of over 12,000 people living abroad, has rated Rome and Milan the two worst cities to live in worldwide for foreigners.

The study ranked Milan bottom out of 49 world cities based on criteria that include work, finances, housing, healthcare and quality of life, while Rome fared scarcely better, coming in 48th place.

The cities slid to the very bottom of the rankings for 2023, having placed 44th and 41st respectively out of 50 cities in the site's 2022 survey.

The ten worst and best cities for foreigners in 2023. The ten worst and best cities for foreigners in 2023. Graphic: InterNations.

Milan scores particularly poorly for bureaucracy (48th), including in specific areas like opening a bank account (44th) and obtaining a visa (48th); as well as for job security (49th) and fair pay (49th).

The city ranks 46th in the 'Working Abroad' category, with over one third (34 percent) of respondents dissatisfied with their career prospects, and under half (49 percent) satisfied with their current job.

READ ALSO: Five things you'll only know if you live in Milan

Milan's foreign residents struggle financially, with the city ranked 48th place for participants' financial situation; and 63 percent say it's hard to find housing, versus 31 percent of foreigners globally.

One area where the city redeems itself is travel opportunities, ranking 9th overall; and 65 percent of participants find locals to be friendly.


But Milan falls short when it comes to the urban environment (45th), and 56 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with air quality, compared to 17 percent worldwide.

Rome residents rate the city's transit system poorly. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP.

Rome, meanwhile, is the only city that scores worse than Milan in the 'Working Abroad' category, coming in 49th place.

Italy's capital ranks 48th for fair pay, and 49th for job satisfaction. Three in five (63 percent) foreign workers think the local job market is unpromising, compared to just 23 percent globally.

READ ALSO: Six things foreigners should expect if they live in Rome

Rome redeems itself somewhat with its weather, with 93 percent of survey participants saying they appreciate its warm and sunny climate; and 74 percent say they like the city's culture and nightlife.

60 percent of foreign residents say locals are generally friendly to outsiders, and the city performs relatively well (21st) when it comes to making friends; while affordability of housing (26th) isn't as much of a problem as in other cities.

But the city ranks poorly for travel and transit (48th) as well as urban environment (also 48th), and comes bottom (49th) for bureaucracy and opening a bank account.


In which Italian cities, then, do residents report a good quality of life?

According to a survey conducted last year by Rome's La Sapienza University, the northwestern cities of Trento and Bolzano in Trentino-Alto-Adige have the highest rates of resident satisfaction.

The cities ranked top out of 107 towns and cities surveyed, scoring highly for employment rates, wealth and income, government spending, and environmental protections.

In October, a report named Trento Italy's 'greenest' city thanks to its low water consumption and waste production and reduced levels of nitrogen oxide in the air, with Bolzano coming in second place.


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