Why expats love living in Aachen

Foreign IT professionals and engineers rank Aachen among world leaders in terms of attractiveness as a place to live and work – so the results of an international survey.


Taipei, Singapore, Manama, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Aachen… What’s Aachen doing in this list? Well, in a worldwide comparison with 71 other cities, Aachen holds 7th place in terms of attractiveness for expats, i.e. people who live and work outside of their country of origin. In the “Urban Work Life Index”, Aachen even snatched first place in the international chart, and topped the chart for Germany in the category “Living and Working”. These are the findings of this year’s “Expat Insider Study”, which is conducted by InterNations, the world’s largest expat network. With around 12,000 respondents taking part, this is one of the most extensive surveys of expats in the world.

A city’s attractiveness for international specialists is becoming an increasingly important location factor. Expats are usually highly qualified specialists and very much in demand on the employment market. The most often cited fields of professional activity in Aachen are IT (30% of the respondents) and Production & Engineering (30% of the respondents). In a global comparison, these two fields are cited by 12%, respectively, 8% of the respondents.

High income, low cost of living
According to the study, four out of five expats (83%) consider their position to be secure and are satisfied with their job (vs. 59% resp. 65% worldwide). More than seven out of ten expats who work in Aachen (72%) state that they have a higher income than they would be earning in a comparable job in their home country. In terms of the global average, only 53% of expats feel the same way about their incomes from working abroad. Aachen also ranks above the average in terms of evaluation of cost of living – achieving second place internationally – with four out of five expats (80%) evaluating this as a positive factor, 22 percentage points more than the corresponding average evaluation for all of Germany (58%).
One of the greatest disadvantages of living in Aachen seems to be the transportation network. Slightly less than four out of five expats (79%) evaluate Aachen’s transportation infrastructure as positive, 12 percentage points less than the national average among all respondents in Germany (91%).
The bad news: only 28% of respondents in Aachen find it easy to make friends with local residents, 17 percentage points lower than the global average (45%). On the upside: Aachen still has the second largest share in Germany of expats who feel at home in their new place of residence (61%). Only Cologne has a larger share (69%).

Background: Expat City Ranking 2018
The City Ranking of the expat network InterNations, which claims to have more than 3.3 million members in 420 cities around the world, is based on the evaluation of 11,966 datasets from expats in 55 different countries. For a city to be listed in one of the indexes and in the overall ranking, a sample size of at least 45 respondents is required. In 2018, 72 cities in 47 countries achieved this benchmark value.