These are the best countries for expats…

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What would make you truly happy? Perhaps it’s earning lots of money, or having the freedom travel as you wish, or maybe having a nice work/life balance is the key? All of those sound nice, but happiness is one of those things which is hard to measure. One thing that most people who say that they are happy agree with is that money is not the reason for their happiness.

There is a recent survey that asked a wide range of ex-pats (over 14,000 people across 191 countries) to rate the different aspects of their life, and then they used the results to chart the places where the expats were happiest. Rather surprisingly, some of happiest countries were not places where the people are earning the most money, or have the best infrastructure.

Here are some of the top-rated countries for happiness, so keep these in mind for your next adventure overseas!

  1. Spain

Spain has been rated very highly for the accommodation, great affordable food and drink and for having good transport links (especially to the rest of Europe). The people surveyed said they think there are good job prospects with decent pay and of course they loved the fantastic weather.

  1. Panama

The Central American country of Panama is in at number 9 on the happiness index. The expats there noted that the climate was very good and that it was a great place to be if you work in a service industry (think finance and infrastructure).

  1. Vietnam

Vietnam scored highly when it came to having outdoor places to explore, and if you want to learn and experience a new culture. The expats there also like that they can live a fairly decadent lifestyle for a relatively low expense (compared to more western countries) – which works well if you are a freelancer working remotely.

  1. Thailand

Like Vietnam, the expats loved the culture and climate, plus the low cost of living. They also noted that it was fairly easy to get settled in Thailand compared to other countries, and there is a large expat community that can give you some help.

  1. New Zealand

There are currently over 300,000 British people who live and work in New Zealand and they have agreed that it’s a brilliant place to be, coming in at number 6 on the happiness index. The good education, healthcare and peacefulness of the country all make the expats there very happy.

  1. Ecuador

Photo credit: dickrijnsdorp

For overall quality of life, Ecuador fell 16 places overall this year, but for happiness, it ranks in at number 5. People here enjoy a great lifestyle rich in activities (particularly outdoor adventures) and a low cost of living overall.

  1. Philippines

Photo credit: Joyce T☆

The Philippines appeals to people who are moving with their families, particularly those with younger children as the low cost of living and friendly attitude towards children make it a great place to live.

  1. Mexico

In at number three is Mexico. Of course, the expats here love the sunny climate, the food and the vibrancy of the country, but Mexico also came in a number one for the ‘ease of settling in’. It’s also noted that they scored highly for ‘friendliness’.

  1. Malta

The happiest place in Europe for expats is Malta! There is a low language barrier, it’s easy to settle in, there’s a low cost of living and the weather is really great compared to other European countries.

  1. Costa Rica

Coming in strong in first place on the happiness index is Costa Rica. Costa Rica has lots to offer people from all walk of life, from the fantastic climate, great landscapes and affordable accommodation. Of all the people that took the survey for Costa Rica, 19% are entrepreneurs or business owners, 14% are retired and 20% have a part-time job.


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