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The Countries With The Highest Quality Of Life For Expats

October 5th, 2017

The Best Countries for Expats

When you move abroad, there are lots of factors to take into account. While the priorities for many expats may be career opportunities and the cost of living, the quality of life offered by a destination country is also worth considering. After all, you don’t spend every waking hour at work.

Each year, InterNations, an online community for expats, carries out a survey covering various aspects of expat life. The 2017 edition was released at the start of September, so we thought we’d take a look at the three countries that ranked highest in the quality of life category based on leisure options, travel and transport, health and well-being, safety and security, and personal happiness.

1st place- Portugal

Portugal jumped 13 places since the 2016 survey to finish first this year. The Western European country scored well among expats for its temperate climate and availability of leisure activities. In fact, 65% of respondents rated Portugal’s climate to be excellent compared to just 26% globally, and 90% said they saw the weather as a key benefit before relocating. Respondents also overwhelmingly considered the country to be peaceful (77%), while there were no concerns regarding personal safety. Portugal ranked highly for travel opportunities (94%) too, even though 9% felt very negatively about the travel infrastructure.

2nd place- Taiwan

After finishing top in 2016, Taiwan dropped to second in the 2017 survey. The island nation, based off the coast of China, ranked highly for health and wellbeing (1st out of 65 countries) and travel and transport, but the quality of the environment was considered average, partly as a result of the rapid industrialisation the country is experiencing. Taiwan also scored well for the quality (68%- the highest worldwide) and cost (87%) of healthcare and the availability of leisure activities (83%), while 78% of respondents said personal safety in the country was outstanding. However, Taiwan’s overall score was dragged down by political instability and the climate.

3rd place- Spain

Western Europe featured again in third place. Spain ranked highly for leisure options and health and wellbeing and its climate scored well, with 66% of respondents claiming they couldn’t be happier about the weather. Expats rated Spain’s medical care too, and 78% considered it affordable. However, only 51% felt positive regarding the country’s political stability, and bureaucracy was also highlighted as a problem- one respondent complained about the amount of paperwork required by the local authorities.

To view the full rankings, download the report here.