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British Expats Take Over Europe

Posted by on November 3rd, 2015.

Where do Europe’s 1.4 Million British Expats Live?

Last year 320,000 Brits left to seek out happiness, opportunity and – probably – sun overseas, according to The Telegraph. Data from Significance magazine shows that Britain is one of the top countries for expatriation, with around 8% of the population residing abroad. When compared to an estimated 3% of Spanish, 2% of Australians, and under 1% of Americans living in another country, it’s clear that the British have a particular fondness for life in new climes.

Spain – The number one European Destination for British Expats

With an expat population of at least 380,000, Spain is by far the European country of choice for Brits seeking a new life abroad. Despite its popularity, Spain has experienced a plateau in the number of Brits moving to the country each year. As of 2011, the figure was holding steady at around 70,000.

A global survey conducted by InterNations ranked Spain 6th in the Quality of Life index in 2015. Leisure and travel options, transport links and quality of available healthcare all contributed to the satisfaction of expats from all nations. It seems that Spain is a better place to retire to than it is to work, however. The country is home to three times the global average number of retirees, while nearly 40% of working expats are unhappy with their job prospects in the country.

Ireland is the second most popular place in Europe, with more than a quarter of a million Brits calling the country home. Its popularity is likely closely linked with the fact that the two countries share such strong ties. It seems a particularly popular destination for Brits who want to work, with 67% of British expats in Ireland being the core working age.

France comes third, with a community of 170,000. Brits clearly aren’t put off by the fact that the country scores 59 out of 65 on Ease of Settling In, or that it falls 8 places behind Spain in the overall Index rankings.

Germany has fewer expats, at just under 100,000, but beats France in the index with a score of 9. Brits looking to escape the England’s infamous climate might want to look elsewhere however, as nearly 40% of people aren’t happy with Germany’s weather. The transport infrastructure is rated as very good by twice the global average percentage of expats (67%), while Germany ranks third in the world for the quality of its medical care.

Switzerland, with under 50,000 expats, is in fifth place. Expats are finding Switzerland particularly appealing thanks to its safety, peacefulness and political stability. The Quality of Life Index is split into several subcategories and Switzerland ranks 5th in terms of Health, Safety & Well-Being, and 2nd in Travel & Transport. It’s also a good place for those with career goals as the Working Abroad Index ranks it in 9th.

Europe or the Rest of the World – Where do British Expats Prefer?

Spain ranks fourth on the list of global preferred destinations for British citizens, with Australia taking the top spot, followed by the USA and Canada.

This data could be misleading, however, as the numbers are taken from the 2011 Spanish census. There won’t be another census until 2021, and many British expats haven’t registered as residents in Spain. The true number of Britons making Spanish regions such as Andalucía their home is estimated to be well over the 1 million mark.

Ireland, France and Germany also make the global list in 7th, 8th and 9th place respectively.

British Expats Per Capita

The number of expats per capita is also worth looking at. Bring able to connect with other expats is often the first step for those moving abroad. While certain countries may have a big population of Brits, they could be spread out across a large area. Smaller countries often house less migrants yet, because of their size, people often congregate in the same areas.

According to AmPilot, for every 1,000 people, Spain has 8.22 British expats – a much smaller ratio than Ireland, with 54.77 per 1,000. Malta, despite having a tiny population of Brits relative to Spain, has a much higher expat density of 27. Despite having the fourth largest population of expats in Europe, Germany ranks 10th in terms of density.

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