Top Expat Destinations
The survey results are published in this report in the form of an overall ranking of popular expat destinations, as well as additional information on four topical indices: Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, and Personal Finance. For a country to be listed in any of the indices and in the overall ranking, a sample size of at least 50 survey participants per destination is required. In 2021, 59 destinations fulfilled this requirement. However, in many countries the sample size exceeded 75 or even 100 participants. In Germany, for instance, around 950 expats took part in the Expat Insider 2021 survey.
In total, 12,420 expats participated in the survey, representing 174 nationalities and living in 186 countries or territories.
respondents were asked to rate up to 37 different factors related to various aspects of expat life on a scale of one to seven. The rating process emphasizes the respondents’ personal satisfaction with these factors and considers both emotional topics (e.g., getting used to the local culture) and more factual aspects (e.g., transportation infrastructure) with equal weight. The respondents’ ratings of the individual factors were bundled in various combinations for a total of 14 subcategories, and their mean values were used to draw up the four topical indices cited above. (Please note: Unlike previous editions of the Expat Insider survey, the 2021 ranking no longer includes either a separate Family Life Index or individual rating factors aimed only at expat parents.)
The four indices, as well as the responses to the question “How satisfied are you with life abroad in general?”, were then averaged to arrive at the overall country ranking. The Cost of Living Index, while providing some insight into expats’ perception of living expenses in their current country of residence, does not factor into the overall ranking.