Expats in Austria Satisfied With Quality of Life but Complain About Rude Locals

Lifestyle & TravelLuxury Goods ♦ Published: July 12, 2022; 15:33 ♦ (Vindobona)

According to the newly published "Expat Insider Study 2022", expats living in Austria have mixed feelings about the country. On the one hand, they praise the high quality of life in the country, but on the other hand they find the Austrian population unusually unfriendly. In the end, Austria was only ranked 24th out of a total of 52.

Expats from all over the world participated in the "Expat Insider Survey 2022". / Picture: © Marina Tower Holding GmbH

Expats from all over the world participate annually in the Expat Insider Survey, which attempts to rank the most popular countries for expats through expat experiences. This survey is one of the largest of its kind and attempts to cover all aspects of the experience, allowing expats to share their personal experiences and thoughts about living abroad.

Austria, which is very proud of its quality of life, especially with its capital Vienna (recently named the most liveable city in the world - read this Vindobona article), cannot be missing from such a ranking. Despite high expectations, however, the results for Austria are mixed.

The "Expat Insider Study 2022" gives Austria a top ranking in the quality of life index, but other factors are not as convincing. In particular, factors related to settling in and communicating with locals have a negative impact on its ranking - in short, many expats perceive Austrians as too unfriendly.

This leads to the fact that, due to very high results on the one hand, but also very poor results on the other, Austria ends up with the 24th place out of 52 in the final ranking.

What factors do expats particularly like in Austria?

As already briefly mentioned, Austria scores particularly well in terms of quality of life. Responsible for the strong third place behind Spain and Taiwan are above all the results in the three subcategories Travel & Transit (2nd), Health & Wellbeing (3rd) and Environment & Climate (5th).

More than nine out of ten expats in Austria (94%) appreciate their travel opportunities, which are due to good connections and the location in the centre of Europe: "I love Austria's history, architecture and culture, as well as the ease of travel and excellent public transport," says one Australian expat. In fact, 91% are satisfied with the availability of public transport, while 85% agree with its affordability.

Health care in Austria is also positively highlighted, which on the one hand is described as affordable by 83% of expats and on the other hand more than three quarters confirm that they have access to all the health services they need.

The basic prerequisite for a healthy life is a clean environment. Austria can also achieve top scores in this area. Thus, 96% of the expats rate the natural environment as satisfactory and 85% the urban environment.

Which areas in Austria are satisfactory?

The results in the subcategory leisure opportunities (21st) are only slightly above average. For example, only 67% rate the local cultural and nightlife positively, which is in line with the global average. However, almost nine out of ten (88 %) are satisfied with the opportunities for leisure sports, and 47 % are even completely satisfied.

Surprisingly positive is the fact that despite the high quality of life, Austria is comparatively cheap to live in. In the Personal Finance Index, it ranks 16th out of 52.

Austria also scores moderately in the Working Abroad Index with a 19th place. This is due to good job security and the good state of the local economy. However, many expats feel they are not paid adequately for their work.

What do expats in Austria not like so much?

The Expat Essentials Index is the first topic where Austria falls below the global average (32nd). The results in three of its subcategories are rather mediocre: housing (25th), administrative issues (27th) and digital life (29th). However, a closer look reveals that Austria scores quite well on some factors and quite poorly on others.

The unrestricted access to online services is highlighted positively and an above-average number of expats consider the available housing to be affordable.

However, the poorly developed possibility to pay without cash and the hurdles foreigners are confronted with when applying for a visa push the result down considerably.

Moreover, Austria is only 38th in the language subcategory. Expats find it neither easy to live here without speaking the national language (39th) nor to learn it (31st). "Speaking fluent German would be a great advantage, but I don't see myself achieving that," says one British expat.

With a shocking 49th place in the "Ease of Settling In Index", Austria is one of the worst rated travel destinations worldwide. It also ranks in the bottom 10 in two subcategories: 51st place for friendliness of locals and 47th place for culture and welcome. Austria does only slightly better in the subcategory "making friends" (41st place).

Expats in Austria find it difficult to make local friends (52% dissatisfied). "It takes so long to make local friends here," notes a respondent from Chile. Another 41% describe the local population as unfriendly towards foreigners, more than twice the global average (18%). In addition, 34% find it difficult to get used to the local culture and 28% do not feel welcome.