Johannesburg has been named the world’s worst city for expats Image: Pixabay.

This SA city has been named world’s worst location for expats

The City of Gold has lost its lustre, but topping the list of the world’s worst cities for expatriates comes as a new low blow…


Johannesburg has been named the world’s worst city for expats Image: Pixabay.

Internations, a global organization connecting expat communities who live in destinations across the world – outside of their home countries – has released the list of the world’s least-liked cities for 2022, according to expats.

The InterNations Expat Insider survey asked expats around the globe to rate their city based on several key factors. Fifty cities were featured in the InterNations survey.

The Spanish city of Valencia topped the list of preferred spots, while Mzansi’s economic capital, Johannesburg, was named the least desired destination for expats to live in. Johannesburg carries a reputation for being one of the world’s crime capitals so there are no surprises as to why expats said they felt unsafe living in the city.

Falling standards, failing infrastructure and a general feeling of collapse contribute to making this once world-class African city a mere shadow of its former self.


  1. Johannesburg
  2. Frankfurt
  3. Paris
  4. Istanbul
  5. Hong Kong
  6. Hamburg
  7. Milan
  8. Vancouver
  9. Tokyo
  10. Rome


Johannesburg came in last place, out of the 50 cities surveyed. A number of survey respondents said they were unhappy with the quality of life in South Africa’s biggest city.  

More than 30% of expats surveyed said they felt very unsafe living in Johannesburg, which is said to be eight times higher than the global average. South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world and extremely high rate of hijacking, house robbery and rape.

The uncontrolled looting which occurred across SA in 2021 is evidence of the fact that mass criminality is not under control in Johannesburg or most other parts of the country.  


Johannesburg also scored negatively when it came to cost of living, with almost half of expats saying their disposable income was insufficient to live comfortably in the City of Gold.

Many expats also rated the city’s local job market poorly and didn’t think they had good opportunities to progress in their careers.

ALSO READ: A rundown mess: Joburg now far from a city of world-class standards [photos]


With alarmingly high unemployment levels, it is often thought that the country may experience a resurgence of the widespread looting and protests seen in 2021, according to BusinessTech.   

The rising cost of living and high unemployment figures in South Africa are simply adding fuel to the flames.  According to Statista, almost 27 % of people aged between 35 and 44 years old (in South Africa) were unemployed at the end of 2022.    

A World Bank report, published in 2022, found that South Africa was the most unequal country in the world, with 10 percent of the population owning more than 80% of the country’s wealth.


Although many expats said they were dissatisfied with several aspects of life in Johannesburg, others pointed out aspects of living in the city which they enjoyed. The weather and natural environment were positively rated, according to Express.

Johannesburg is known to be home to some of the friendliest people in the country.  A number of survey respondents said they found it easy to make friends in Johannesburg.

Other respondents said they liked the city’s music scene and nightlife as Johannesburg boasts some of South Africa’s best nightlife and live music.

ALSO READ: Highest living standards in Africa…SA DOES NOT top the list