For many American travelers, living abroad is the ultimate dream. However, the big question is, “What is the best country to live in?”
Do you opt for somewhere that boasts impeccable health care, somewhere with a ridiculously low cost of living, or somewhere you’ve been on vacation to and never wanted to leave?
Well, who better to ask than current expats who are already living in these places?
Thanks to InterNations’ annual Expat Insider Survey, it’s now possible to see exactly what it’s like for an expat in various destinations around the world. The survey boasts over 12,500 respondents of 166 different nationalities living in 188 countries, providing you with a true insight into the best countries to live in. They rated their homes based on five categories: family life, work, how they settled in, quality of life, and personal finance.
We’ve included the top ten results below (some of which may surprise you), before exploring some of the worst countries to live in!
The 10 Best Countries to Live In
Despite being under scrutiny for how it treats its locals who don’t agree with the government’s views, Bahrain proved very popular with expats due to how “at home” they feel when they live there. This is largely down to its vast array of cultures, which make it a vibrant place to work and live. It jumped from 19th place to 1st place in a year.
2. Costa Rica
This was placed at the top when it came to making friends, with almost half of the expats living there saying they would do so forever.
A constant favorite, Mexico’s low cost of living, friendly locals, and great weather keep it toward the top of the list every year, despite its healthcare and safety rankings being below par.
When it came to the health and well-being subcategory, Taiwan topped the list, with more expats being satisfied with the overall quality of health care than in any other destination on the list.
Portugal is renowned by expats for being very welcoming, with 93% of all respondents suggesting they are “satisfied with their life abroad” in Portugal.
6. New Zealand
This was voted one of the best places to work abroad thanks to its great work-life balance. Expats living in New Zealand tend to work fewer hours each week than those living in other countries. There’s also the added bonus that Kiwis speak English, so there’s no need to swat up on a new language before you move there!
Expats ranked Malta highly for its work and job security, even though they said they could often earn more in their home country.
Even though safety is a concern in some of Colombia’s regions, expats feel that Columbians are “very welcoming,” on the whole. They also said that it’s very easy to settle into your new life in this country.
Singapore was hailed for how safe it feels when you’re living there as an expat and how easy it is to find high-quality education for your children.
Its vast array of leisure activities has put Spain on the map with expats, with 90% of respondents saying they’re satisfied with their overall life there. Skilled foreign workers are also a welcome addition to Spain, with there being plenty of language teaching, skilled trades, customer service, and engineering jobs available.
The Worst Countries to Live In
Elsewhere in the list, China came out as one of the best places to work, with two-thirds of expats being happy with their work life out there. However, it ranked 55th overall due to its quality of life, particularly if you’re concerned about the quality and cost of education and health care or the pollution.
Greece brought up the rear, which is primarily due to its economic issues. And Australia was one of the countries that dropped dramatically in rankings, going from the top ten in 2016 to 34th place in 2017. The work-life balance, work hours, career prospects, and jobs all added up to this drop.
Of course, there are always differing opinions as to which are the best countries to live in, and the dramatic changes witnessed in this survey every year certainly demonstrate this! However, these latest results should hopefully give you a good head start in your search.
We’d also recommend doing your own research so you can gather a good overview of what your chosen country can offer you, focusing on the aspects that are most important to you (e.g. work, health care, or lifestyle). After all, it’s your own personal preferences and priorities that matter most.