The 17 Countries Where Expats are the Happiest


View of Tossa de Mar city, Costa Brava, SpainBeing happy is not an exact science, although it is what many expats are looking for when moving abroad. So in which countries, and why, are expats the happiest?

A new survey by InterNations, the world’s largest network for people who live and work abroad, shows just what makes expats happy… and it’s not always earning a lot of money.

The firm asked 14,300 people living overseas, representing 174 nationalities and living in 191 countries or territories, to rate 43 different aspects of life abroad on a scale from one to seven. One of the sub-indexes looked at personal happiness.

Some of the countries that made the top spots showed that the happiest expats across the globe were not necessarily earning a high amount, nor were they in areas with the best infrastructure.

So what is it about these countries that makes expats so happy?

  1. Portugal

This country ranks in the top five dream destinations for expats, according to the survey. It is particularly popular for families emigrating with children.

If you have moved to Portugal, remember that we can provide Expat Property Insurance for you there.

  1. Oman

Expats moving to Oman usually go with a job already secured. Once they are there, many say good personal safety (57%), political stability (46%) and peacefulness (62%) all contribute to a happy life.

  1. Kenya

The country is becoming increasingly popular with expats, thanks to job growth in various sectors, stunning surroundings, incredible weather and a low cost of living.

  1. Peru

The survey found that Peru mainly attracts business owners, so expats who already have an income. Many relocate for the weather and low cost of living.

  1. Hungary

Hungary is one of the countries that have climbed the most in the personal finance index, meaning that expats are earning more. This has contributed to the personal happiness of expats, as costs have not risen in line with wages, making it a cheap place to live.

  1. Uganda

The east African nation has transformed itself into a country of relative stability and prosperity, and this is attracting expats from across the globe seeking emerging market opportunities.

  1. Taiwan

Taiwan features near the top of many sub-indexes, as expats there are “relatively well-off, despite low absolute income”. Access to quality healthcare and education also contributes to expats’ happiness.

  1. Spain

Accommodation, food and drink, and transport cost very little in comparison to Western European countries, such as Britain. Combined with job prospects, decent pay and good weather, expats are extremely happy in Spain.

We also provide specialist Overseas Property Insurance for expats in Spain.

  1. Panama

This country is a hive for service economy jobs, including finance and infrastructure. Pay goes a long way and the weather is also great.

  1. Vietnam

This popular expat destination for Western Europeans scores highly because it’s possible to live fairly decadently on a low wage (by western standards). There is also incredible scenery, great activities and lots of places to explore.

  1. Thailand

Another favourite for the western world is Thailand, where low cost of living, easiness of settling in and activities make expats very happy.

  1. New Zealand

This country may be out of the way, but peacefulness, good healthcare and great education all make expats extremely happy there.

  1. Ecuador

Although Ecuador fell by 16 places in the quality of life index, in terms of personal happiness, expats say it’s one of the best places for a happy life. Cost of living is low, and great weather and activities are in abundance.

  1. Philippines

Those with families rank this country highly thanks to its friendly attitude towards children and low cost of living.

  1. Mexico

Mexico ranks number one on the ease of settling in index, as well as highly across the weather and friendliness sub-indexes.

  1. Malta

The country is a favourite for Europeans looking to relocate, thanks to the ease of settling in, low language barrier, low cost of living and enviable weather. Interestingly, the survey shows that personal happiness is one of the best in Malta because 70% of expats there are in a relationship, compared to the global average of 63%.

  1. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the top five dream destinations for expats, and makes people happy from all different walks of life – 19% of expats are entrepreneurs or business owners, 20% have a part-time job, while 14% are retirees.

Does your new expat home make you happy, and why?

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