If you’re looking to pivot towards freelance working, you’ll need to consider factors such as expected average salary and rent in the city of your choice, internet speed, healthcare, co-working spaces, and, of course, what your options are when you’re off the clock.
That’s where this table of the World’s Best Freelance Cities can come in handy. It outlines the 30 best cities for freelancers and digital nomads (including USA, Ukraine,UK, UAE, Thailand, Spain, South Africa, Serbia, Russia, Philippines, Pakistan, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, Kenya, Isreal, Indonesia, India, Hong Kong, Greece, Germany, France, Egypt, Colombia, Chile, Canada, Brazil, Bangladesh, Australia and Argentina), taking into consideration 10 metrics split across three categories: work, life and play. The following is a roundup of the top 10 cities in the list – and why they made the grade.
This city in the United States is rated best for freelancers, with a total score of 65.18 out of 100. Some of the things that make this eclectic city so appealing for freelancers include ranking in third position for internet connections (reaching speeds of 137 Mbps) and offering the highest average salary at £3,688 per month. Austin is also known for its welcoming locals, great live music and its excellent commute time.
Thailand’s Chiang Mai is well known in nomad circles and for good reason. It has one of the highest employment rates out of all 30 cities assessed, with 67% of adults over 15 being in employment. It also gets great scores for healthcare and commute satisfaction, while also asking for a low monthly rent of just £302. Couple that with its low cost of living, and the tropical town becomes perfect for remote working without breaking the bank.
Scoring well for leisure activities and the commute, Germany’s capital city takes third place in the list of top freelance cities. Offering a decent monthly salary of £2,187 as well as great healthcare, the culture-rich Berlin is ideal if you want to make a lengthy pitstop in Europe as you work your way around the world. Berlin also scores well for quality of life and is known for its nightlife, cafés and museums.
Staying in Europe, Spain’s Barcelona gets fourth place in the ranks, boasting high scores across healthcare, the commute and leisure activities. The city is almost synonymous with the nomad lifestyle, with a thriving community of digital nomads calling Barcelona their (temporary) home. Incredibly, the city maintains a perfect track record, never scoring lowest for any of the factors measured. Expect a monthly salary of £1,298, impressive internet speeds of 133 Mbps (on par with top ranking Austin), and enough co-working spaces to work at a different location every day.
Melbourne, Australia rounds off the top 5, scoring top marks for leisure activities and impressively well for quality of life. All this is despite the city having a surprisingly low internet speed compared to the others in the top five, only reaching speed of 43 Mbps. And yet, the arty city with the inimitable coffee culture boasts strong commute satisfaction and healthcare figures, as well as a healthy average salary of £2,322 per month.
What other cities make the top ten?
If the top cities above don’t tickle your fancy – or maybe you’ve worked there already – the rest of the cities that made the top ten might be more to your tune:
Toulouse, France narrowly misses the top five, getting sixth place in the ranks despite offering only 11 co-working spaces, and a low employment rate. Its shining graces include commute satisfaction, healthcare, quality of life and an internet speed of 140 Mbps.
Canada’s Montréal scores well for the commute, quality of life, leisure activities and internet speed, offering 126 Mbps for its nomadic workers. Perhaps some of the features that see it lingering at seventh place in this list are its relatively low number of co-working spaces and high cost of living.
Dubai takes eighth place in this list and is the only entry from the Middle East. As one of the UAE’s major cities, Dubai has the highest employment rate across all countries tested, with 80% of the workforce currently in employment. The country also scores well for the commute, but falters for cost of living, monthly rent and number of co-working spaces.
South America’s Colombia (Medellín to be exact) scores extremely well for commute satisfaction, cost of living and monthly rent, earning it the final place in the top ten. Its high notes are tempered by a low score for monthly salary that sees it fourth from the bottom for that metric.
Whether you’re a seasoned digital nomad looking for your next destination or a newbie just starting out on your freelance journey, there’s a city out there to suit.