Join now
Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Expats Feel at Home & Happy in Spain

A wide variety of leisure options are easily accessible to those living abroad in Spain, and expats also feel at home there.

Spain comes 2nd out of 53 destinations in the Expat Insider 2023 survey. It even lands in 1st place worldwide in the Quality of Life Index. Expats are especially happy with their Health & Well-Being (4th) and their Leisure Options (1st). They also are satisfied with their social lives (10th) and find it easy to get used to the local culture (2nd). However, the country ranks below the global average for Working Abroad (34th). Overall, 87% of expats are happy with their life in Spain, compared to 72% globally.  

Excellent Leisure Activities Continue to Please Expats  

Since the first Expat Insider survey in 2014, Spain has always ranked in the top 10 of the Quality of Life Index. For example, the country has consistently featured among the best worldwide for its Leisure Options, placing 1st again in 2023. The majority of expats (88%) is happy with the culture and nightlife in Spain, compared to 68% globally. Additionally, over nine in ten (91%) are happy with their opportunities for recreational sports (vs. 75% globally). Luckily, Spain’s climate and weather (3rd) makes it easier for expats to get out and enjoy these activities.  

"I love the sea, beach, weather, and sporting activities. I don’t need a car to get around with the great public transportation.” – German expat 

Hassle-Free Healthcare  

Expats also love the Healthcare (4th) in Spain. They are very satisfied with both the availability (84% happy vs. 71% globally) and the affordability (82% happy vs. 62% globally) of healthcare, and they vote Spain’s quality of medical care in 10th place globally.  

A Place to Call Home 

Though missing out on a top 10 spot in the Ease of Settling In Index (12th), Spain does come 6th in the Culture & Welcome Subcategory. Four in five expats (80%) feel at home there, 18 percentage points more than the global average (62%). They also consider it easy to get used to the local culture (78% happy vs. 62% globally).  

Feeling at home abroad often goes hand in hand with a healthy social life, and expats in Spain do seem to benefit from this. Nearly seven in ten (69%) have a personal support network in Spain (vs. 58% globally), and 72% are happy with their social life there (vs. 56% globally).  

Working Life Is Below Average 

Spain performs worst in the Working Abroad Index (34th). Less than half the expats (49%) agree that moving there has improved their career prospects (vs. 59% globally), and 36% are unhappy with the local job market (vs. 26% globally). Job security (43rd) and the state of the local economy (39th) leave a lot to be desired. On the positive side, the country ranks 10th in the Work & Leisure Subcategory, largely due to expats’ satisfaction with their work-life balance (73% happy vs. 63% globally).  

Few Monetary Worries 

Finances don’t appear to pose many problems for expats in Spain. It ranks 13th in the Personal Finance Index, and more than two in three expats (69%) are happy with the general cost of living, compared to only 44% globally. Similarly, in the Expat Essentials Index (16th), Spain comes in 13th place (out of 53) for the affordability of housing.  

Spain ranks slightly below the worldwide average in the Admin Topics Subcategory (33rd), though. Nearly half the expats (47%) have difficulties dealing with the local bureaucracy (vs. 38% globally). While another 36% also find it difficult to live in Spain without local language skills (vs. 32% globally), 62% at least describe the local language(s) as easy to learn (vs. 40% globally). 

Further Reading