Where to, for Millennial Migrants? Prague?

Published: 01.04.2019 Related countries:  Sweden Sweden

Despite threats to free movement across Europe, there are still cities for European millennials to consider moving to, and Prague ranks second.

Prague is the number two city in Europe for factors likely to attract millennials interested in living  abroad, according to a study by personal finance research site NimbleFins – which is, ironically, based in the UK, currently teetering on the brink of leaving the EU.

Taking second place only to Zurich in Switzerland (the study covered 24 cities, including some outside the EU and EFTA), Prague was the highest-ranked city in TOL's region, with the next-highest, Zagreb, at 14th, Budapest at 16th, Warsaw at 17th, and Belgrade at 23th.

The Czech capital was singled out in particular for offering people in the 18-35 year-old age group a “nice balance” on affordability, “with solid wages and a relatively low cost of living making it easier for young people to live comfortably.”

Yet there are real advantages even in cities ranked “lower” overall, report author Erin Yurday told TOL. “Everyone has something different they're attracted to in a city, and the individual categories [of the report] will allow them to get an idea.”

According to the report, Paris, in first place in the “entertainment” category – a composite of the population of 20-34 year olds, number of parks per square kilometer, number of cinemas per square kilometer, and a ranking of restaurants, bars, and cafes – scored far more highly than Prague (in 12th place for “entertainment”), Budapest (21st), Warsaw (22nd), Belgrade (23rd), and Zagreb (24th). However, other factors meant the French capital ended up in 18th place overall – below those other capitals (except Belgrade).

By contrast, Prague and Zagreb ranked highest overall – in joint first place – for “cost of living and affordability,” while Warsaw and Budapest were ranked fourth and seventh, respectively, in this category.

Factors measured in the study were employment, cost of living, entertainment, and “health and safety.” The last category was a quality-of-life composite derived from statistics such as pollution data, the risk of young adult poverty or social exclusion (a metric for mental health), life expectancy, crime/safety, and hours of sunshine each year, as well as the Global Peace Index.

Prague's “health and safety” ranking was fifth out of 24, Zagreb eighth, Budapest 14th, Warsaw 15th, and Belgrade 20th.

The shortlist of two dozen cities was whittled down from a longer list according to availability of data across all the categories measured, and also through a “part non-scientific” survey of friends and colleagues to narrow down the broad list to those cities where they would have most interest in living, explained Yurday.

Open Borders, Open Minds?

Given the timing of the study – published the week the UK Parliament began another round of votes about leaving the EU – is it really the time to talk about world cities as though they are interchangeable? Can, and do, EU and EFTA citizens really move countries so easily?

“Language is definitely a barrier for people moving,” Yurday conceded, highlighting the importance of potential migrants equipping themselves with a foreign language. However, she pointed out that the NimbleFins study had been published in English, so would be most used by people who already had some facility in English, at least.

And she added: “Young people are very adaptable.”

She also acknowledged the irony of publication of this research by NimbleFins, based in London, admitting that if the UK were to leave the EU without an agreement, that could close London off to a certain extent, to non-UK young people looking to live there.

However, she said, “[London's] still a place to come,” notably for highly skilled people who would be eligible for work visas.

And she said that despite “Brexit” and other threats to world openness, she hoped that young people would continue to be open to the idea of living abroad.

“Other countries have so much to offer everyone, in terms of personal growth and opportunities.”

Pointing out that the rankings from her research were intended to highlight different cities and what they had to offer, she stressed: “There are so many places to go!”

Prepared by the collective of workers of CzechTrade – Stockholm Office.

With using the source: Victoria Roberts, Transition Online.