Vienna ranked top for quality of life… but ‘world’s least friendly city’

Vienna regularly tops global surveys for quality of life, but a new ranking based on what foreign residents think of their cities reveals it as one of the hardest places in the world to feel at home and make friends.

Vienna on rainy evening
Vienna offers a great quality of life, but poses challenges for foreigners trying to settle there, according to the survey. Photo: Pierre Blaché/Unsplash

The Expat City Ranking by InterNations, based on a survey with more than 12,000 respondents in 57 cities around the world, saw Vienna ranked as the 14th best city for expats. 

In particular, its quality of transportation, local leisure options, and affordability and quality of healthcare received high scores, earning it a number 1 rating for Quality of Urban Living, keeping up a five-year streak of being in the top ten for this category.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about Vienna’s cheap annual metro pass

“In terms of aspects like green spaces, noise levels, and eco-friendly architecture, Vienna is hard to beat,” said the survey, noting that 94 percent of those surveyed were positive about the urban environment, compared to 71 percent globally.

One Swedish expat told the survey: “Vienna is a fantastic place. The streets and air are clean. People are friendly and polite. It’s historical, safe for women (and everyone), with lots of things to do after work.”

Respondents were asked about five areas: Quality of Urban Living, Getting Settled, Urban Work Life, Finance & Housing, and Local Cost of Living. Only cities with at least 50 responses were included in the survey ranking.

Vienna also scored positively on working life, receiving top ten scores for job security and work-life balance, and ranking 12th out of 57 for local cost of living.

READ ALSO: 11 life hacks to help you feel like a local in Vienna

High rankings for quality of life are par for the course in Vienna, which spent three years in the top spot of the Global Liveability Index by the British Economist group, only tumbling down to 12th spot last year due to the impact of the pandemic on both healthcare access and cultural offerings.

It was the area of ‘Getting Settled’ that pulled down Vienna’s ranking in the InterNations survey. In this category, it ranked 50th out of 57 countries. That ranking came from a score of 44th in ‘Feeling Welcome’, 45th for ‘Friends and Socialising’, 44 for ‘Local Language’ and 57th — the worst of every country included in the survey — for ‘Local Friendliness’. Almost half of people surveyed said it was hard to make new friends in the city, a total of 44 percent compared to 32 percent globally.

Vienna joined four other German-speaking cities in the bottom ten for Getting Settled: Hamburg, Munich, Zurich and Dusseldorf. The majority of Viennese expats (54 percent) said they struggled with learning German and 28 percent said it was difficult to get by without it.

Overall,  around two in five foreign residents in Vienna (43 percent, compared to 16 percent globally) said locals were generally unfriendly and the figure was almost as high when asked if locals were generally friendly to foreign residents (39 percent, compared to 18 percent globally).

Member comments

  1. You may want to update your article to say Austria instead of Vienna, since the survey on Internations mentions the country and not the city.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


REVEALED: Austria’s most popular baby names in 2022

Austria's most popular baby names in 2022 might surprise readers.

REVEALED: Austria's most popular baby names in 2022

It’s that time of the year again when Statistics Austria releases the country’s most popular names for newborn babies, with Marie (for girls) and Paul (for boys) revealed as the winners.

Marie has taken the top spot for the second year in a row, while Paul has snatched the top spot for the first time since 2018, according to the latest figures.

Emilia and Jakob followed in second place for girls and boys respectively.

READ ALSO: Could Austria change the rules around citizenship?

Tobias Thomas, Director General of Statistics Austria, said: “He [Paul] was the top climber, moving up four places from last year. Lea and David on the other hand, each slipped three places compared to the previous year.”

The name Marie was chosen 975 times in Austria in 2021, and Paul was chosen 810 times.

Marie first entered the top ten list of most popular girl’s names in Austria in 2009 and has been climbing steadily ever since. Whereas Paul has been in the top ten since 2012, claimed the top spot in 2018 and appeared in second place in 2017 and 2019.

READ MORE: IN NUMBERS: One in four Austrian residents now of foreign origin

Statistics Austria compiles the results by analysing registered baby names in their original form, without special characters.

Here’s the full top 10 list of the most popular baby names for girls and boys in Austria in 2021.


  1. Marie
  2. Emilia
  3. Anna
  4. Emma
  5. Lena
  6. Mia
  7. Laura
  8. Valentina
  9. Hannah
  10. Lea


  1. Paul
  2. Jakob
  3. Maximilian
  4. Elias
  5. David
  6. Felix
  7. Leon
  8. Tobias
  9. Jonas
  10. Noah