France: Recent survey reveals how expats feel about living in France
Do expats enjoy living in France?
Around 13,800 expatriates representing 165 nationalities and 169 countries of residence participated in the online survey, which ran from 10th June to 30th June 2014.
According to the survey, the top three nationalities of expats in France are British, US American and German. The majority of foreigners living here appear to be satisfied with their overall quality of life, which may be thanks to the admirable health care system: 80% of participants described the quality of French medical care as good or excellent. It is a significantly higher proportion compared to the global average of 53%.
But what attracts expats to France in the first place? The main reason seems to be love, with 16% of participants saying that they moved because of their partner, compared to the worldwide average of 11%.
France also proves to be an ideal location for expats with families. The country ranked 3rd in the survey’s Family Life Index, beaten only by Sweden and Denmark. 84% of respondents are satisfied with family life in France, whilst a vast majority of participants (93%) are happy with their children’s well-being. Family life in France is also improved by the education system, with the country taking 3rd for cost of education as two-thirds agreed that schooling is affordable, compared to the worldwide average of 29%.
France also ranked 6th for availability of childcare and education, and 9th for overall quality of education.
Working in France seems to have its positives and negatives, however. The country has the 7th shortest working week, with an average of 37.6 hours in comparison to the global average of 41 hours. But it ranks 48th in 61 countries for overall satisfaction of working abroad, perhaps due to the fact that many participants felt career opportunities were scarce in France compared to expats in other countries. France could only muster 44th position for job security. And France came in at 52nd out of 61 in the Personal Finance Index, with 11% dissatisfied with their personal financial situation.
But it seems that one of the biggest issues confronting expats in France is difficulty settling in, with the country placing seventh last in ease of settling in. Many foreign residents appear to experience problems fitting in with the locals, with only 14% of expats saying that the locals are friendly, as opposed to a worldwide average of 27%. A large number of respondents went so far as to say they felt unwelcome in France, with the country ranking 39th in the welcoming category, and 50th for ease of making friends.
These issues may be linked to the language barrier though, as 64% of participants said it was difficult to live in France without learning the language, compared to the global average of 33%.
Overall, France came in 40th position out of 61. The top 10 locations for expats were:
10. Hong Kong