The Best Countries For Expats in 2021 (20k+ Survey Responses)

The Top Expat Destinations of 2019

InterNations released its annual Expat Insider report in which they surveyed more than 20,000 expats about their life abroad! Here are our favorite takeaways and learnings from the report.

Key details about the survey:

  1. It’s important to note that it’s an older demographic as 70% of the responses came from people over 36 and 32% of responses came from people over 51.
  2. The 47 question survey included expats of 182 nationalities living across 187 countries and territories.
  3. The overall country rankings factor in quality of life, ease of settling in, personal finance, working abroad, and family life.

1. Taiwan Ranks Number One Overall For Expats

While I wouldn’t have predicted that Taiwan would be ranked number one, this also doesn’t surprise me as it’s one of my favorite places in the world.

I lived in Taipei, Taiwan for two months in late 2017 and there are a lot of things to love: incredibly kind people, amazing food, great nightlife, cheap but very modern city, phenomenal public transit, and nearby beaches.

It’s one of the most underrated destinations and after the coronavirus situation blows over, I highly recommend visiting (or moving there)!

2. Most Improved and Least Improved Expat Countries

Indonesia (where I live), Kazakhstan, and Qatar made the biggest ranking leaps this year while Cyprus (quality of life complaints), South Korea (weakening economy), and Costa Rica (cost of living issues) are trending the worst.

3. Which Countries Have The Most Expat Friendly Locals?

Which Countries Have The Most Expat Friendly Locals

This is one of the more fascinating nomad/expat charts that I’ve seen. During my nomadic journey, friendly locals has become one of the most important factors in choosing new places. This chart would’ve been very helpful over the last few years!

Portugal, Colombia, and Indonesia are three of the most popular countries for digital nomads so it’s no surprise that they all rank highly for friendly locals and places where expats feel at home.

I’m surprised that so many European countries rank so poorly (the Netherlands, the Nordic Countries, Germany, and the UK) as from my own personal experiences, travelers from these places tend to be very friendly. Perhaps it has to do with the demographics of expats or that while travelers from these places are friendly, you’re treated as an outsider when living in these countries.

4. Ecuador Has The Happiest Expats

While Ecuador ranked 8th overall, it ranked first in terms of happiness with 42% of respondents saying they were “extremely happy”!

5. Best and Worst Countries For Expat Families

Best and Worst Countries For Expat Families

This is a fascinating list. I admittedly know very little about expat families but I’m surprised to see the U.S., UK and Hong Kong rated so poorly. Not surprising that the Nordic countries rated so highly as they’re known for their education and government support systems.

6. Best and Worst Countries For Expat Dating

Best and Worst Countries For Expat Dating

This is a helpful list to all of the single expats and nomads out there! No surprise to see Brazil and Colombia on top.

Final Thoughts:

This is a fascinating and extraordinarily thorough report. It also includes detailed breakdowns of responses for Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Czechia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, UK, USA, GCC States, Nordic Countries, and the Asian Tigers.

If you’re thinking about where to move internationally or where to raise a family, I certainly recommend reading the full report!