How countries & territories compare


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All Findings

A great social life underpins everything

We know expats live an independent life with a global outlook. But if no-one should ever be an island, the world's non-native residents are especially keen to become part of the social fabric of their new home.

The best territories in the world for expat experience are rated highly for the opportunity to integrate with the local population and make friends as well as for their rich culture, excellent quality of life and positive effect on health and wellbeing.

Mexico is particularly strong here. Up two places to 7th since 2017, the nation is building on steady gains up our league table over the last three years

Forty-one per cent of expats living in Mexico said their social circle is bigger here than at home compared with only 18% of expats globally. But this isn't just about expats from the same background sticking together. In Mexico, almost seven in ten (68%) expats count locals and other expats from all over the world as part of their social circle.


of expats living in Mexico say their social circle is bigger than at home.

More spending money thanks to a lower cost of living means they can afford to make the most of that active social life too.

Many feel 'confident', 'optimistic' and 'comfortable' about their financial futures and expats here often donate more to charity, support local causes and community activities and even take part in more voluntary work than they did at home.

With figures like these it makes sense that twice as many expats in Mexico say living overseas has made them happier compared with the global average.

The importance of social relationships is felt further down the rankings too.

A huge 80% of expats may speak more than one language, but those living in 26th placed Poland feel language barriers and “a culture that feels closed to foreigners” gets in the way of developing a connection with local people.

But social connections mean much more than deciding who to spend weekends and holidays with. It can influence your whole sense of self.

For example, only a third of expats (39%) in the Philippines are learning and using the local language and just over half (53%) enjoy immersing themselves in the local culture. Coming in at 27th this year, far more expats here feel most closely aligned to their home territory than the global average.


of expats in the Philippines are learning and using the local language.

Regardless of how they define their place in the world, once they've made the leap into life overseas, expats are a committed bunch.

Around four in five (79%) have lived abroad for more than five years and a quarter have been expats for more than 20 years. Two thirds would recommend the place they live in to anyone thinking of moving.

Managing your money as an expat: some things to consider - and how we could help.

Things to consider

The 2018 Expat Explorer survey is a global survey completed by 22,318 expats across the world. The research was conducted online by YouGov in March and April 2018. League tables are calculated using responses to 27 of the questions asked in the research. A minimum sample of 100 expat respondents including at least 30 expat parents is required for a country to be included in the league tables.

Expat Explorer collects key findings from countries around the world.

Use the dropdown menus above to add or remove criteria and see which findings from 2018 are most relevant to you, or use our league table to see how countries compare.

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