So which country would you pick if you were to snag an international assignment for two years? Do you wonder how you might have answered that question 5 years ago versus today? How does your selected country compare to what other expats around the world would say, based on their actual experiences?
Since 2014, InterNations has been running their "Expat Insider" annual survey where they ask actual expats to rate and share their personal experiences and thoughts on life abroad. This year they garnered almost 12,000 responses that represent 177 nationalities. The five topical indices that they look at are: Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Personal Finance, and Expat Essentials. For a country to be listed in any of the indices and in the overall ranking, a sample size of at least 50 survey participants per destination is required and this year 52 countries met that qualifier.
So you are dying to know? Drumroll...let's see if any surprise you.
2022's Top 10 Countries for expats:
2022's Bottom 10 Countries for expats:
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
- South Africa
So, what surprised you? There are a few countries in the bottom 10 that I was a little surprised by. For example, New Zealand and Hong Kong dropped way down the list and that was primarily due to high costs of living. Italy surprised me a bit too on this list.
But congratulations to Mexico! Expats in Mexico are happy with their Personal Finance (2nd) and the Ease of Settling In (1st). In fact, the country comes first in the Local Friendliness, Finding Friends, and Culture & Welcome Subcategories. Expats describe the local residents as friendly (90% vs. 66% globally) and find it easy to make friends among them (75% vs. 42% globally). Expats love, for example, the culinary variety and dining options (92% vs. 77% globally) and the natural environment (90% vs. 83% globally), but they are unhappy with the local air quality (36% vs. 19% globally). Overall, 91% of expats are happy with their life in Mexico.
So what has changed since 2021? Well, Mexico and Taiwan remain in the top 3. But last year, Costa Rica was ranked third and is now absent from the top 10 for what looks like is due to not being able to have enough reviews to qualify. Indonesia made a massive move from 31st last year to #2 this year in part because money goes a longer way and it's easy to settle in. Housing in Indonesia is easy to find (84% vs. 54% globally) and to afford (74% vs. 39% globally). Vietnam rose three spots from 10th to 7th and Australia did the exact opposite switching from 7th to 10th.Taiwan which was #1 last year, fell to #3 but still ranks best in the Quality of Life Index (2nd). Expats find healthcare affordable (100% vs. 61% globally) and widely available (98% vs. 73% globally), and they generally feel safe there (98% vs. 81% globally).
Published on Tuesday, the survey of a sample of InterNations' four million members covers areas including working abroad, financial ramifications and ease of settling in. For the first time, this year's rankings also include an 'Expat Essentials Index', which covers digital life, admin topics, housing, and language.