More and more Americans are interested in living abroad, from workers joining the Great Resignation to people looking to stretch their paychecks amid the global cost-of-living crisis.
The prevalence of remote work makes it much easier for people to live in a foreign country. Some may find the experience appealing from a purely financial perspective, while others see political benefits. Women are exploring the possibility of moving out of the U.S. after the overturn of Roe v. Wade. One U.K. company that helps people relocate to different countries reported a 193% spike in site visitors from America, mostly millennial women, after the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to an abortion in late June.
Plenty of countries have tried to capitalize on the work-from-home trend by introducing digital nomad visas, with some even promising a tax-free lifestyle to lure remote workers. As their options grow, prospective expats may be left wondering what place is best suited for their lifestyle and working needs.
Every year, InterNations, an international networking site, asks thousands of expats to evaluate their quality of life abroad and compiles the results into a ranking of the best destinations for people seeking to live and work elsewhere. This year’s Expat Insider surveyed 11,970 expats, who represent 177 nationalities and live in 181 countries.
Mexico ranked highest as the prime destination for this year’s ranking, with 91% of expats reporting they are happy with their life there. Expats told InterNations they especially appreciate how easy it’s been to settle in, and how far their money goes.
The cost of living is on the rise around the world, as inflation hits many countries with the worst price increases they’ve seen in decades. It’s no surprise that cost of living is top of mind for expats when assessing how happy they are with life abroad.
More than three-quarters of expats in Mexico said they were generally happy with their financial situation. Only 15% earned more than $100,000 annually, but 90% considered their disposable household income enough or more than enough to live comfortably. That’s in contrast to the over 36% of U.S. employees who make salaries of $100,000 or more, but say they are living paycheck to paycheck, according to a survey that consulting firm Willis Towers Watson released last month.
Only expats in Vietnam were more satisfied with their financial circumstances.
In Indonesia—which ranked right behind Mexico on InterNations’ list—74% of expats feel positive about their financial situation, compared with 60% globally.
Third on the list is Taiwan, where expats lauded the affordability of health care, sense of safety, and financial stability. In fact, 70% expressed satisfaction with their financial situation.
That’s not the case for expats in countries like Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Luxembourg. There seems to be a strong link between respondents’ financial situations and their quality of life, as New Zealand both ranked second-to-last overall and the worst in terms of personal finance.
Globally, 35% of expats said they were unhappy with the cost of living in their country, but dissatisfaction jumped to 75% when it came to New Zealand owing to rising inflation. There, inflation has reached 6.9%, the highest in 32 years. An expat who moved from Botswana to New Zealand told InterNations, “The cost of living is too high here in comparison to the salaries,” while another from India pointed out a “growing divide between the rich and poor.”
Here are InterNations’ best and worst places for expats to live in 2022:
The Top 10
6. United Arab Emirates
The Bottom 10
46. South Africa
50. Hong Kong
51. New Zealand