London, New York and Berlin Top Choices for Spanish Emigrants

Posted on 13/12/2012

The economic crisis in Spain, which has resulted in extreme unemployment, is leading many native citizens to seek new opportunities in other countries.

At the time of writing, 25% of Spanish citizens are unemployed. The figure for youth unemployment, which represents individuals aged from 16 to 25, sits at a disturbing 52%. In a country where more than half of school and college leavers are unable to find work, it is unsurprising to find people looking elsewhere for prospects.

Expatistan has access to some unique data that can provide an insightful indication as to where these native citizens plan to move. Many people use the site to research the cost of living in various destinations. By studying this data, it’s possible to see which cities potential Spanish emigrants are investigating.

The following list shows the top ten cities for which Expatistan users based in Spain have investigated the cost of living:
  1. London (UK)
  2. New York (USA)
  3. Berlin (Germany)
  4. Buenos Aries (Argentina)
  5. Paris (France)
  6. São Paulo (Brazil)
  7. Lisbon (Portugal)
  8. Rome (Italy)
  9. Zurich (Switzerland)
  10. Milan (Italy)
This data allows for some interesting observations:

The presence of London and New York at the top of the list is unsurprising. As well as being huge financial centers, these cities have long been considered places where work, at least of some description, can be easily found. It’s also important to note that these cities are permanently popular holiday destinations, so some price comparisons are likely to have been made for tourism purposes and not by individuals researching a permanent move.

Berlin’s place on the table is understandable. As is well known, Germany is leading Europe from an economic standpoint and, for now at least, has been seemingly immune to the high levels of unemployment being experienced elsewhere in Europe. Back in May 2012, UK newspaper The Guardian reported that Berlin was a popular destination for Spanish job-hunters. Zurich shares some commonality, with unemployment remaining stable in Switzerland at the present time.

Aside from New York, Buenos Aries and São Paulo are the only cities in the top ten that are located outside Europe. Both Argentina and Brazil are considered “emerging economies” by the International Monetary Fund. As such, they are considered to be lands of opportunity, and Argentina has the benefit of being a largely Spanish speaking country.

The fact that all the remaining cities on the list are within Europe (and geographically close to Spain) seems to suggest that the Spanish citizens who are considering becoming expats are doing so under a certain level of duress. These are not people moving abroad as a lifestyle choice, but people doing so due to economic necessity. It’s fair to assume that many would rather not be leaving their families, and will be glad to return as and when the economic picture brightens.

We also have available a bigger data set on top emigration choices for spaniards, including the top 40 cities and countries for which Expatistan users based in Spain have investigated the cost of living.