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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Raise Your Family in Safe Germany

Germany is the ideal place to live with your family and start a career, but language issues and lack of friendliness might prove to be a stumbling block at first.
  • Over one-third dissatisfied with German weather
  • High ratings for safety, peacefulness, and political stability
  • Positive ratings for job security
  • Children’s health and leisure options viewed favorably
  • Poor results for friendliness of the locals

Expat Statistics 2016

Expat Statistics for Germany — infographic


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Germany: The Place to Be?

In the Quality of Life Index, Germany ranks ninth overall, owing to its transport infrastructure, safety, and healthcare. The obvious drawback is the German climate, with over one-third of expats (36%) feeling dissatisfied with the weather, compared to 22% globally. However, the natural environment finds favor with 89% of the respondents.

Around nine out of ten expats (92%) are satisfied with the transport infrastructure, and another 91% rate the travel opportunities positively. Around nine out of ten are happy with personal safety and peacefulness (90% and 88%, respectively), as well as Germany’s long-term political stability (86%). Those statistics are convincing enough for one in three expats to plan to stay in Germany for the rest of their life.

Working in Germany: Safe and Sound

Thanks to its consistently strong economy, Germany climbs up one rank this year to take third place in the Working Abroad Index, after Luxembourg and Taiwan. Having secured a job is the main reason for expats to relocate to Germany (15% found a job there on their own), with 47% of those moving there occupying the role of employee or manager.

Most expats in Germany (72%) are satisfied with the number of working hours, with a quarter of the respondents completely satisfied with their 39.9-hour work week, compared to 41.4 hours worldwide. For full-time workers, the gap between the average German work week of 42.4 hours and the global results (44.6 hours) stretches even more. In addition to their work-life balance, expats also appreciate their job security: five out of seven are happy with this factor, putting Germany second in the Job Security subcategory.

When it comes to money matters, Germany ranks a modest 33rd out of 67 in the Personal Finance Index. Asked if their disposable household income — the total income minus taxes — is enough to cover their living expenses, 21% respond negatively. The high tax rates might be one reason: one-third of the expats now living in Germany considered taxation a potential disadvantage before relocating, almost twice the global average of 18%. The financial situation, however, is still seen as positive by seven out of ten expats. Moreover, the general cost of living is rated favorably by 62% of the respondents, 13 percentage points more than in the rest of the world, ranking it 23rd out of 67 in the Cost of Living Index.

Family-Friendly Germany?

Germany claims the 10th spot out of 45 in the Family Life Index, with fairly high ratings in the Quality and Costs of Childcare & Education subcategories, as well as general satisfaction with children’s health and well-being.

Expat parents need not worry: more than half the expats raising children in Germany (52%) are totally satisfied with their children’s health, while 45% rate their offspring’s safety very favorably. Leisure options for kids are aplenty: 84% of parents are satisfied with the available opportunities, while six out of seven (86%) state their overall contentment with their kids’ well-being.

“I feel very safe and secure here and I feel that by living in Germany I am giving our son the best opportunities in life.”

About three in five expat parents (61%) agree that education options are numerous and easily available. Almost three-quarters of the expats with kids (72%) rate the quality of education positively, while over seven in ten (71%) think schooling is affordable. They make use of Germany’s quality education system: 58% send their children to local state schools — almost double the global average of 31% — while 46% say their kids speak German very well.

However, there’s one catch: when it comes to friendly attitudes towards families, Germany only ranks 41st out of 45 countries.

A Rough Welcome to German Life

Getting used to the local culture is an ongoing issue among expats relocating to Germany, with the country ranking a lowly 57th out of 67 in the Ease of Settling In Index. The language barrier and the exposure, or lack thereof, to locals come to mind there.

The German language is not easy to learn, according to 62% of the expats, compared to 45% of all respondents around the world who think the same about learning the respective local language. This might be partly a reason for the fact that 49% of expats have difficulties in socializing with the locals and finding German friends.

“People are not as open-minded as in other countries and it takes a while to make friends and be accepted.”

Moreover, it seems that the locals themselves don’t exactly go out of their way to redress this: Germany ranks 55th in the Friendliness subcategory. Adding all this up doesn’t make Germany seem like a hospitable place for expats, but it’s not all doom and gloom: 58% feel at home in the local culture. Also, around only two in ten (21%) say it’s very difficult to live in Germany without German language skills, compared to 19% globally.

Further Reading