QCOSTARICA TRAVEL & LIVING – Once more, Ecuador tops the list of the best places to live abroad in the InterNations Expat Insider 2015 survey, which is with more than 14,000 respondents one of the most extensive studies ever conducted to explore the general living situation of expatriates.
This year’s top ten also hold some surprises: small country Malta made it up to third place, closely following Mexico on the second.
Apart from typical expat destinations Singapore and Luxembourg, the most popular places for living and working abroad in 2015 are perfect for globetrotters: According to InterNations, the largest global network and information site for expatriates, New Zealand, Thailand, Panama, Canada, and Australia prove to be great homes for global minds.
Ecuador: Everybody’s Darling
The InterNations Expat Insider 2015 survey ranks countries by different factors such as the quality of life, personal finance, working abroad and making friends. In most of those categories Ecuador takes a leading position.
For example, a stunning 94 percent of the foreigners in Ecuador are pleased with local leisure options, while 91 percent are satisfied with the local costs of living. Statistically, the typical expat in the South American country is US American and 51.9 years old. The higher than average age of expats in Ecuador is unsurprising considering that 36 percent of them are retirees. Of those who have relocated to this tropical paradise, 45 percent say that they are considering staying forever.
Mexico: Where the Sun Always Shines
Mexico has won the hearts of many expats with friendly people, beautiful beaches, and tasty cuisine. Over four out of five expats say that getting used to the local culture is generally easy and over 90 percent appreciate the friendliness of the local population as well. Also, almost every single respondent likes the weather in Mexico — which is one of the four most common considerations when it comes to moving abroad. But not all that glitters is gold: Mexico misses the top of the ranking because about a quarter of the foreigners view personal safety negatively, compared to a worldwide average of 11 percent.
Malta: Small in Size, Big in Business
Expats say that Malta is the best destination for working abroad. Job satisfaction is high and two-thirds of respondents or more are happy with their career prospects, work-life balance and working hours. Malta is also popular for its ease of settling in: 73 percent find it easy to make new friends and three quarters of the foreign residents feel right at home in Malta. Overcoming the language barrier does not appear to be too difficult, either, with nine out of ten saying it is easy to get along without speaking the local language. This high percentage is due to Malta’s past as a former British colony, where English is still widely spoken.
Countries that Expats Should Avoid in 2015
Kuwait occupies the 64th and last place of InterNations’ Expat Insider 2015 ranking, particularly due to its low score when it comes to the ease of settling in and the overall quality of life for expats in the country. In fact, 53 percent of respondents are unhappy with the general friendliness of local residents and many are not satisfied with the available leisure options.
The situation is similarly grim when it comes to personal happiness. Only job security and the general ease of overcoming the language barrier are rated decently, making it to 26th and 25th place, respectively.
Greece is on 63rd place with particularly bad results when it comes to job-related factors such as career opportunities, work-life balance and job security. Furthermore, half of the foreign residents in the country rate their financial situation negatively. Personal happiness is also at a low among expats in Greece, with 15 percent being unhappy with their life. On the upside, seven in ten expats feel at home in Greece and even more value the friendliness of the local population.
While Nigeria comes in 10th in Personal Finance and still gets about average ratings for job satisfaction and career prospects, it occupies the last place in the Quality of Life Index. Survey participants are particularly disappointed with the local transport infrastructure (84 percent), as well as the political stability (75 percent) and their personal safety (61 percent). Moreover, Nigeria is a rather expensive country for expats, with two-thirds of respondents giving the cost of living a negative ranking. The country thus occupies a low 62nd place on the overall ranking.
Find more InterNations Expat Insider 2015 rankings, reports and infographics on www.internations.org/expat-insider.
About the InterNations Expat Insider 2015 survey
For its annual Expat Insider survey, InterNations asked more than 14,300 expatriates representing 170 nationalities and living in 195 countries or territories to rate and provide information on various aspects of expat life, as well as their gender, age, and nationality. The ratings of the individual factors were then used to draw up topical indices: Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Family Life, Personal Finance, and Cost of Living. These were further averaged in order to rank 64 expatriate destinations around the world. In 2015 the top ten were Ecuador, Mexico, Malta, Singapore, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Thailand, Panama, Canada, and Australia.
With 1.8 million members in 390 cities around the world, InterNations (http://www.internations.org) is the largest global network and information site for people who live and work abroad. InterNations offers global and local networking both online and face-to-face: At around 4,000 monthly events and activities, expatriates have the opportunity to meet with other global minds. Online services include country and city guides created by a team of professional writers, guest contributions about life abroad, and discussion forums to help members with topics such as local housing and job searching. To ensure the quality of the network, InterNations membership is by approval only.