Dubai tops list of most popular cities to move abroad: Study

People in about 60 countries across the globe showed interest in moving to this Emirati metropolis


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Published: Tue 7 Nov 2023, 2:07 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Nov 2023, 2:10 PM

Dubai has topped the list of cities people from across the globe want to move to, according to a study by Remitly, a US online remittance service.

The study is based on Google search data in all languages for the term ‘move to [city]’. This data was collected from October 2022 to September 2023 in 164 countries. The most searched-for location was then considered the most preferred destination for the specific country.

Remitly explained that the “overall rankings were created by totalling how many times each city featured as the number one choice of another country”. Dubai was preferred over Miami, Paris and New York, the three next cities on the list.

People in about 60 countries across the globe showed interest in moving to Dubai. This preference for the Emirati metropolis can be attributed to the prospects of good employment opportunities, modern infrastructure, crime-free and peaceful environment, alongside relatively stable weather conditions. The diverse global population in the city and easy connectivity with most parts of the world add to its appeal.

By some estimates, Dubai’s population has seen a steep rise of almost 100,000 between 2022 and 2023 and most of this population comprises expats and migrant workers.

"For anyone wanting a fresh start in a new city where it’s easy to meet and make friends from all corners of the world, Dubai appears to be the ideal relocation destination," Remitly said.

Take a look at what the data from different geographical regions has to say:


When it comes to picking a non-city to move to, 47 of 50 US states picked Dubai, meaning 74% of the US population would like to move to Dubai if they were to move abroad.


Canada, a country believed to be the dream destination of people around the world, also showed an inclination towards Dubai. Seven out of 10 Canadian provinces picked Dubai as their top destination, followed by New York City, Miami, and Doha.


Dubai ranks as the number one choice in 14 European countries. It is followed closely by the Belgian capital Brussels, the administrative centre of the European Union, and the UK’s capital London.

Asia and Africa

Seven countries, including India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, in Asia, see Dubai as their international relocation choice. However, the six other Asian countries picked Miami. The Philippines leaned towards the USA’s Phoenix, while Thailand picked another US city Chicago.

A whopping 20 African countries, including Cameroon, Ghana, and Nigeria, expressed interest in moving to Dubai. Paris was second on Africa’s list with eight countries searching about how to move to the French capital.


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