A new study by Remitly revealed that people across the world want to move to Dubai more than any other city.

The analysis parsed search data involving the phrase “move to [city]” for internet users in 164 countries. Internationally and in North America, Dubai reigned supreme in this ranking, with 60 countries searching it.

The top 10 cities users searched internationally are as follows:

  1. Dubai (60 countries)
  2. Miami (12)
  3. Paris (10)
  4. New York City (8)
  5. Madrid (8)
  6. Singapore (8)
  7. London (6)
  8. Brussels (6)
  9. Toronto (3)
  10. Washington D.C., Buenos Aires, Christchurch, Quebec City, Bogota, Portland, Vienna, Chicago, Phoenix (2)
World map showing the city each country used in the ranking searched the most. | Remitly

Why might so many people want to move to Dubai?

Dubai is already one of the most popular destinations among expats, per Nomad Capitalists. Over the years, various celebrities have made the move, including Lindsay Lohan, David and Victoria Beckham and Sarah Lindsay.

According to TimeOut, Dubai’s population increased by almost 100,000 people between July 2022 (3,515,264 people) and July 2023 (3,604,030), and the government expects much more migration in the near future.

The Dubai Urban Plan 2040 projects the city’s population to almost double — to 7.8 million people, by 2040. The ambitious plan also includes improved living facilities, close proximity to public transit for 55% of the population, the development of five urban centers, a 400% increase in length of public beaches, 60% of the land to be dedicated for nature reserves and a 134% increase in space for hospitality and tourism activities.

Living in Dubai would mean more than just sunny beaches and major urban development — residents enjoy tax-free salaries and a multicultural society.

Murtaza Khan, managing partner of Fragomen Middle East and Africa, told Euronews: “If you look at migration worldwide, what’s at the heart of attracting people? It’s opportunity, and Dubai has long been a well-established business hub, but it’s more than that. Dubai offers lifestyle choices. You have the freedom to practise [sic] religion or not to practise [sic] religion. We have a relatively secure and safe environment, and lots of great infrastructure, health care and schools.”

Sarah Lindsay, an Olympic speedskater, expanded her business, Roar Fitness gym, into Dubai. Lindsay told Euronews “As a businesswoman launching a business in Dubai, I found it a very positive experience. The community here is small. Networking is very easy. Word of mouth was fast. We had lots of enquiries very, very quickly and people signing up before we even opened, which was a very nice surprise.”

For families with kids looking to relocate, Dubai’s schools may be a selling point.

According to Euronews, schools are rigorously inspected by the government, and their findings are publicly available for prospective parents. Variety among schools is also wide, with something available for everyone.

Where do Americans want to move to the most?

Remitly also separated the American’s most searched cities, creating two rankings: in the country and international.

Within the U.S., the top cities American users searched are as follows:

  1. New York City, NY (12)
  2. Portland, OR (12)
  3. Chicago, IL (10)
  4. Los Angeles, CA (4)
  5. Charlotte, NC
  6. Washington D.C.
Map showing the top U.S. cities Americans search for. | Remitly

The top international cities people searched for are as follows:

  1. Dubai, UAE (37)
  2. Amsterdam, Netherlands (4)
  3. Singapore, Singapore (2)
  4. Vancouver, Canada (2)

Interestingly, Utah residents seem to have chosen another Middle Eastern city as their top contender for relocation: Doha, Qatar.

According to Vacation Builder, Doha and Dubai both have similar salary potential, business opportunity, crime rates and landscapes, as well as proximity to one another.

Doha’s cost of living is lower than that of Dubai, which seems to have more variety in landscape and slightly more to attract expats, than Qatar.

People need only pick the metrics that matter most to them to decide, as goes for the rest of the locations listed in this ranking.

Map showing the top international cities people search for. | Remitly
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