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The World’s Best Countries for Expat Living

Posted by on November 4th, 2015.

Our look at the world’s best countries for expat living is based on 14,400 expats from 170 nationalities giving their views on their new country of residence. In a survey by InterNations – the world’s largest expat organisation – people living abroad gave their opinions on all aspects of life in 64 countries. The data was collected as part of the Expat Insider 2015 survey, which has given some interesting insights into the best places around the globe to live.

Here are some of the most notable results!

Ecuador – the Expat’s Favourite

Ecuador tops the survey results for the second year running, with expats still highly satisfied with their new lives. The South American country was rated highly for quality of life and how easy it was to settle in and topped the charts in terms of Personal Finance, as well as the Cost of Living. Ecuador also has the cheapest house prices. While the overall feeling is one of satisfaction, Ecuador only has average job satisfaction results, and many expats living there aren’t happy with their level of personal safety.

Mexico – a Friendly Face in Second Place

Settling in and finding friends are two of the biggest concerns for expats, who often worry about adjusting to their new life or feeling isolated. It’s hardly surprising, then, that Mexico has risen to second place thanks to its friendly population and ease of getting established. Three quarters of respondents are happy with their financial situation in Mexico, but as with Ecuador, a large proportion weren’t happy with their personal safety.

Malta – Great for Hard Working People

Retiring abroad is a popular reason for expatriation, but in Malta it’s the strong job market which keeps its foreign residents happy. It’s the fourth easiest country to settle into and has plenty of leisure options, good healthcare facilities, and a pleasant climate. An aspect of life that expats aren’t so happy with is transport, and Malta is also in the bottom half of the Index in terms of Personal Finance.

Singapore – Perfect for Those Seeking a Better Life

Singapore tops the charts in terms of Quality of Life thanks to high scores in multiple subcategories. A strong economy in recent years has seen plenty of expats drawn to the city-state for job opportunities, with 19% of expats having relocated after finding employment, and a further 18% having been sent abroad by their employer. As well as ranking highly for overall Quality of Life, Singapore does well in the Family Life category (rank 6), with over 80% of expats happy with the quality of education their children are receiving.

Austria – the Ultimate Family Destination

Expats living in Austria are enjoying the best when it comes to family life. The Family Life Index is divided into four subcategories, with Austria ranking first in terms of Availability of Childcare and Education as well as Family Well-Being. Austria received approval from three quarters of expats in both of these categories. The country also came second in the other family-based categories, which are Cost of Childcare and Education and Quality of Education.

Sweden & Norway – Work Less and Enjoy Yourself

Expats who want to work hard and play hard could be best suited to living in Sweden or Norway. Expats in Sweden were the happiest with their work-life balance, while those in Norway had the shortest working week at 40.4 hours. Women and men shared the same satisfaction levels with work life balance and the number of hours they work, and the over 50s are the happiest age group in terms of percentage satisfied with these factors.

Peru – Great for Finding Local Friends

Expats are statistically more likely to make friends with each other than with the locals. A third of expats reported having mostly expats in their circle of friends, with only 16% of people living abroad having more local friends than expats.

Expats living in Peru are the most likely to have primarily local friends in their social group, with 39% reporting this. 32% of expats living in Argentina have more local friends, making South America one of the best places to move for expats looking to integrate into their new local community.

The most common ways people meet friends abroad is through work (64%), through existing friends (56%) and at expat events (37%).

Has your ideal expat destination changed?

The results of the InterNations survey highlight the best – and the worst – places in the world for expats to live. While Ecuador takes the top spot, the data clearly shows that your requirements could dictate how well you will take to life in a certain country. The survey ranks 64 countries in the world, so it is worth identifying exactly what you hope to get out of living abroad, and then check how your favourite countries perform!

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