Tallinn, Estonia, September 8, 2016: Software Developers care most about pollution, crime, living costs and the startup scene when choosing a city in which to work and live, according to new data from Teleport, an international software company that helps its 190,000 users move to cities that are compatible with their personal living preferences.

When considering these preferences, along with internet download speed, university quality, the number of tech events per year, the increase in startup count over the last three months and the number of co-working spaces, Teleport’s data from 13,000 software developers living around the world reveals that the top five best cities for developers are:

  1. Toronto
  2. Berlin
  3. London
  4. New York City
  5. Melbourne

San Francisco, the undisputed leader in the absolute number of tech companies and jobs, as well as venture capital available, does not make the Top 10 cut in an index balanced for quality of life.

“When it comes to a lively startup scene, San Francisco, New York and London are heavily dominating, which may not come as a surprise to anyone,” said Sten Tamkivi, CEO at Teleport. “However, these cities also stand out with a high cost of living (consumer price index), and first and foremost—rent prices are astronomical. Therefore, if low living and housing costs are important to you and an excellent startup scene score isn’t worth your wallet being half as light, the data reveals that Toronto, Berlin and Melbourne offer more balanced life quality.”

While New York City is the only US city to make the top five list for software developers, the results are less favorable for US cities when looking at the preferences of Teleport’s US user base. With nearly 70% of Teleport’s 53,000 American users considering low pollution a leading factor in deciding where to move and 55% motivated by lower living costs (49% are looking for lower rent costs), destinations like San Francisco and New York only rank in the top 10 recommended cities for 30% of American users. The number one most recommended city for US users is Singapore, followed by Toronto, Munich and Berlin.

Tamkivi concludes: “With the increase of remote work and employee mobility, we see a new wave of attractive cities rising as migration destinations. Global technology centers like San Francisco still have a lot of momentum, but high competition and an even higher cost of living put them out of reach for a majority of the well educated workforce. Up-and-coming cities like Berlin and Toronto can market themselves with smart jobs too, but offer more qualities that skilled workers desire—affordable housing and a quality of life influenced by factors such as the level of safety and pollution.

About Teleport:

Teleport builds software to move you to the best place to live and work. We help you plan your life across the current and future cities you want to work in, and get in touch with the communities, employers and governments to make the next move.

Many of us were previously building Skype, which was quite effective in making the world smaller in a metaphorical sense. We now aim to make physically rearranging the human population just as easy.

Research Note:

Teleport’s data is drawn from 1.2M+ real location searches by its 190,000 users, 53,000 of whom currently live in the United States. Teleport users are high-end knowledge workers including software engineers, designers, product managers, marketing managers, sales managers, web designers, and customer support specialists with a global median annual income of $32K; they are well educated and often mobile.

The presented software developer attractiveness index presumes a statistically “average” user with job type set as “software engineer”. As majority of the real people are not  average, we highly recommend individuals use Teleport Cities application to finetune the results list to their particular unique set of needs and preferences.

devcitiesRelative indexed performance of Top10 world cities matching to balanced needs of software engineers.

radarchart2Radar chart comparing a few key components of the software developer attraction index in Top5 cities.

startupsceneHere’s what our top 5 cities list would look like if we only took into account two things: quality of the startup scene and available VC funding.