San Jose is a popular expat destination due to its status as the 'Capital of Silicon Valley'. The city is at the heart of technology and innovation in California, the US, and indeed globally, attracting many giant tech companies to establish a presence here. As can be expected, these companies, in turn, have attracted highly skilled workers from all over the world.
Living in San Jose as an expat
San Jose is located near the southern tip of the San Francisco Bay and is surrounded by mountains. This beautiful region offers many recreational facilities, including parks, beaches and hiking trails. Those looking to escape the city can venture to Yosemite National Park, visit the Napa Valley wine region, or spend a day on one of the nearby beaches along the Pacific Ocean. San Francisco is also just a short drive away, and a ride along the Pacific Highway offers an opportunity to explore the magnificent western coastline.
San Jose is a multicultural and multi-ethnic society and foreigners are generally made to feel welcome. There are plenty of neighbourhoods to choose from, and all kinds of accommodation, though supply is limited and applicants should act fast when they see something they like.
While electronics manufacturing dominates, other major industries in San Jose include finance, aerospace, real estate, retail, insurance and medicine. Legal services and tourism are also prominent sectors. While there's a healthy job market, San Jose has a highly educated population and competition can be fierce. Expats looking for work in the city will do well to network, and should be prepared to compete with highly experienced candidates from some of the top international universities.
Cost of living in San Jose
It goes without saying that as the heart of the tech industry, San Jose is one of the wealthiest of American cities. In line with this, the cost of living is also among the highest in the US. Housing, in particular, is expensive as there is huge demand. That said, high salaries often offset the high cost of living; households in San Jose generally have a higher than average disposable income.
Expat families and children
Although it’s one of the largest cities in America, San Jose still retains something of a small-town feel. A temperate climate, relatively low crime rates, high salaries and lots of family-friendly facilities ensure that San Jose offers expats an excellent quality of life. The city is also a good place to raise a family, and expats with children need not worry about their children’s education, as there are many good public and private schools in the San Jose metropolitan area. The region is also especially renowned for its tertiary institutions – most notably, Stanford University in nearby Palo Alto.
Climate in San Jose
San Jose has a subtropical Mediterranean climate. The city is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and is sheltered from the Pacific Ocean by mountains, which provide relief from the rest of the area's typically high rainfall.
An exciting, up-and-coming city, San Jose may be expensive, but for those who earn a good salary in the city's famous tech industry, this Bay Area metro might be just the right place to raise a family.
Are you an expat living in San Jose?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to San Jose. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.