According to a new survey from InterNations, a global community and information site for people who live and work abroad. The United States is considered one of the 20 most dangerous places to live on the planet.
The results are part of InterNations’s latest Expat Insider Survey, a comprehensive report on what it’s like to live and work abroad in 64 countries around the world. For the 2019 survey, InterNations polled 20,259 expats representing 182 nationalities and living in 187 countries or territories, covering topics such as quality of life, cost of living, personal finance and more. In the Safety & Security subcategory, respondents rated three factors including peacefulness, personal safety and political stability. The results were compiled to create a ranking of the most dangerous places to live. Compare these to the 2018 results of the most dangerous places to live.
Topping the list of the most dangerous places to live is Brazil, with South Africa coming in as the second-worst place, followed by Nigeria. “Brazil, South Africa and Nigeria—the bottom three countries in the Safety & Security subcategory—are also the three worst-rated destinations for personal safety in particular,” says Malte Zeeck, founder and co-CEO of InterNations. “For example, in South Africa, which ranks 64 out of 64 countries for this factor, 63% of expats say they don’t feel safe, and 22% even feel extremely unsafe.”
While the United States ranked 16 on the list of the 20 most dangerous places to live in 2019, it fared better than in 2018, when the country came in at number 13. Zeeck points out that the USA’s ranking has improved, but it has only moved up three spots for personal safety (from 54th in 2018 to 51st in 2019). “Last year, about one in six expats (16%) said they didn’t feel safe in the USA; today, it’s one in seven (14%) expressing the same opinion,” says Zeeck. “So, the respondents’ views have become just slightly more positive.”
And yet, Zeeck says that the overall results are not good for this country and that the USA’s 49th place in the 2019 Safety & Security subcategory is “still not really anything to write home about. A large number of respondents also point at safety factors and current affairs when describing what they do not like about life in the U.S.”
That said, the timing of promoting InterNations’s questionnaires might have impacted the slightly different results, according to Zeeck. “The 2018 survey ran in late February / early March, not too long after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. This was widely reported about at the time and, as the survey is based on expats’ subjective opinions, it may well have affected how they rated the country at the time.”
However, gun violence still remains a major concern in 2019. “When asked about the aspects of life in the U.S. that they like the least, a substantial number spontaneously gave answers such as ‘lack of gun control’ or ‘violent crime involving guns’ and so on,” says Zeeck. “A Portuguese expat even says that ‘gun culture could be the trigger for me to move out of the country due to safety concerns’—that’s quite a statement.”