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Top 10 Cities in the US for British Expats

Where you move to in the US very much depends on your personal situation and your preferences; for example, whether you are young and single, have a family or are looking to retire. The states and cities in the US vary dramatically, and your choice of city to reside in will depend on factors such as climate, crime/safety, employment and education. Some states often come up on top for British expats in the US, including California and Florida, largely due to the amount of sunshine there compared to the UK. With a number of factors in mind and overall quality of life, here are ten top cities to consider…

San Francisco

San Fran tends to top the polls for the most famous city in the US for British Expats. Those who visit on holiday tend to fall immediately in love with its charm. San Francisco has a population of 808,854 and is known as the City by the Bay.It is a financially secure city, with excellent entertainment/social life (nearly 400 bars and 3,430 restaurants) and a good quality education system. Residents enjoy clear air (environmentally friendly) and feel safe there. Unemployment in the area is low at 7.8% and the average household income is respectable, at just over $90,000.


With a population of 624,070 and a reported good quality of life, Seattle gives San Francisco a run for its money. The high rainfall does not put a dampener on things, as the economic stability of the city and the clean air and environment make it popular for expats. Employment is high in the area, thanks to its personal computing sector and top employers Microsoft. With four pro-sports teams in a relatively small area and 16.8% of the population holding a graduate degree, Seattle benefits from happy residents!

Washington, D.C.

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The capital of US politics offers excellent schooling for expats, as well as a good number of leisure facilities and attractions. It boasts of 100 museums and 88 libraries and is popular for tourists and residents alike.


North Dakota, as a state in its entirety, is a great place to settle as an expat. The state has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the whole country and has survived well during the recent economic crises.

New York

A favourite for tourism, and the nation’s biggest city with a population of 8.11 million, New York provides plenty of choice when it comes to leisure and social facilities with 22,000 restaurants and 1,200 bars! A centre for fashion, media/publishing, shops and business, there are a number of employment opportunities for those settling in New York, as well as world famous universities. New York is a great choice for those seeking a cosmopolitan lifestyle, with plenty to see and do. The city that never sleeps is ideal for young professionals, albeit expensive.


The Texan city is a leader in the computing and technology fields, with the company Dell residing there and unemployment levels only at 6.3%.

San Diego

Fantastic weather, low crime levels, high safety, good education and beautiful beaches helps San Diego reach the list of top US cities for British expats.


The city in Vermont, otherwise known as the Green Mountain state, has low crime rate numbers and is a favourite for expats, due to its good lifestyle offerings and employment opportunities. As a state, it has a lot of variety but Burlington tops the list after being named the top place to raise a family, according to Men’s Health magazine.

St. Paul, Minnesota

The state capital is well known for being a safe place to live and a clean area. It boasts culture and architecture as well as relatively high employment levels.

Portland, Oregon

A popular choice for expats, Portland is known for its quality of life and laid-back, relaxed atmosphere. It offers a number of quality bars and restaurants and cultural delights are high on the list of priorities for locals. A number of creative people live in Portland and as a result, it is arty and has a good music offering. People who live in the city tend to stay there for some time.

Depending on your age, hobbies and employment needs, where you choose to reside will vary, but the list of ten cities above offers a starting point for factors to consider when making the move to the US.