Expat Insider: New survey reveals best and worst locations for expats

Expats: Survey reveals top locations

In September 2017, Expat Insider published their latest survey results on the Best & Worst Places for Expats – ranked by expats.  The survey ranked 65 destinations on 40 individual factors that influence an expat’s experience, e.g. quality of life, ease of settling in, family life, working abroad, personal finance, and cost of living.

None of 2016’s top three retained their spot in 2017, but there was little change in the bottom three.  Bahrain moved from 19th to 1st.

The Top 10 destinations are:

  1. Bahrain
  2. Costa Rica
  3. Mexico
  4. Taiwan
  5. Portugal
  6. New Zealand
  7. Malta
  8. Columbia
  9. Singapore
  10. Spain

Bahrain excels in making expats feel at home, and it tops the Ease of Settling-In Index.  It also comes first for being able to get by without learning the local language.  A third of expats (32%) see themselves staying in Bahrain for more than 5 years, and 11% say they might stay forever.

Costa Rica ranks first in in the Finding Friends subcategory taking the top spot for every question.  It is also in the top ten for three of the five indices: Quality of Life, Ease of Settling-In, and Family Life.  For the latter index, the country jumped 16 places due to better scores in the quality of Education and the Availability of Childcare and Education.

Mexico retakes its place in the top three in 2017; it is in the top 5 for three indices: Ease of Settling -In, Personal Finance, and Cost of Living.  One American respondent said, “I like how easy it is to adapt, and the people are incredibly friendly.”

The Lowest ranked destinations are:

  1. Turkey
  2. India
  3. Qatar
  4. Ukraine
  5. Italy
  6. Saudi Arabia
  7. Brazil
  8. Nigeria
  9. Kuwait
  10. Greece

Kuwait and Greece have been in the bottom three for four consecutive years, and Nigeria has been in the bottom three since 2015.

In relation to Greece, one British respondent described “feelings of insecurity due to the economic crisis”.  Cost of Childcare and Education contributed to Greece taking last place in the Family Life Index.

Kuwait has improved by at least one place in all indices particularly in the Working Abroad Index.  Kuwait comes last for leisure options and personal happiness in Quality of Life.

Nigeria was in last place for three of the five subcategories in Quality of Life (Travel & Transportation, Health & Well-Being, and Safety & Security).  Significant improvements were made in the Personal Finance Index where Nigeria jumped from 32nd in 2016 to 12th place in 2017.  The number of expats with a lot more disposable income than they need has risen from 15% to 21%, and 31% give their financial situation the best rating in 2017, compared to 19% in 2016.

To learn more about international business etiquette and how your behaviors compare with other cultures and colleagues click here.


About the Author

Terence Brake

Terence Brake is an author in the global learning & development field and has over 20 years experience helping executives to work better across cultures.

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