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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Discover the Joys of Living in Spain in 2024

It’s no surprise expats are happy with their life in Spain — the country claims the top spot in the Quality of Life Index for the third year running.

Despite not scoring in the top 10 for four of the five Indices, Spain still ranks 4th overall out of 53 countries in the Expat Insider 2024 survey, with 84% of expats saying they’re happy there (vs. 68% globally). The country is a top choice for those looking to relocate or spend an extended period of time abroad, as the climate, healthcare, and cost of living keep expats satisfied amid minor challenges.  

How Expats Rate Life in Spain

Leisure & Safety under the Mediterranean Sun

Spain performs well in the Quality of Life Index (1st), landing in the top 10 for four of its five subcategories. Notably, Spain is an 8-time champion in the Leisure Options Subcategory, seeing 1st for culture & nightlife as well as opportunities for recreational sports two years in a row.

What’s more, Spain lands in 9th place for Environment & Climate — 88% of respondents enjoy the climate and weather (vs. 58% globally). Many expats praise the sunny climate, and as one Singaporean expat put it: “I love the 300 days of sunshine.”

But regarding Safety & Security, Spain slips to 16th place. This is in part due to shaky political stability (30th), with only 57% of respondents rating the political climate positively (vs. 59% globally). Personal safety also doesn’t perform too well, coming in an average 24th place.

Cruising through Life with Great Healthcare

In 9th place for Travel & Transit, the transportation network ensures easy access to various regions, making it convenient for expats to explore the country. Close to nine in ten respondents (89%) find public transportation affordable (vs. 70% globally).

“The culture is vibrant. Spain is an incredibly diverse country in which to travel.” – US American expat

Spain also secures the 3rd spot for Healthcare. Expats praise both the quality (10th) and affordability (5th) of medical care, with the majority (81%) positively rating its availability (vs. 68% globally).

Embracing Local Hospitality

In 11th place for the Ease of Settling In Index, expats find that Spain offers a welcoming environment for a smooth transition. In fact, over three-quarters of respondents (77%) feel both at home and welcome in Spain (vs. a global 58% and 63%, respectively). And they agree that making local friends (53% positive replies vs. 38% globally) and getting used to the local culture (75% vs. 59%) is easy.

Spain’s 14th place in Local Friendliness certainly helps, as locals here are on average friendlier to foreign residents than in other destinations: 77% of expats rate this factor positively (vs. 61% globally).

Limited Job Market but Stable Finances

Reviews for Working Abroad in Spain are less glowing — the country ranks 27th, its worst result in an index. In the Career Prospects Subcategory, Spain places 41st. Expats are not particularly happy with their career opportunities (36th) or the local job market (41st).

Spain ranks 33rd in the Salary & Job Security Subcategory, with only around half of expats (53%) rating the state of the economy favorably (vs. 59% globally). Nevertheless, approximately two-thirds of respondents (65%) are satisfied with their jobs (vs. 60% globally).

In matters of Personal Finance, Spain ranks 14th — in large part thanks to reasonable costs of living (10th), which over three in five (63%) rate positively (vs. 40% globally). And in terms of expat satisfaction with their financial situation, Spain ranks 23rd.

“The low cost of living allows me to enjoy a high quality of life without spending too much money.” –  Italian expat

Progress in Digitization amid Language Barriers

Spain lands in 18th place in the Expat Essentials Index. Expats are particularly happy with matters related to their Digital Life (15th); close to nine in ten respondents (88%) agree it’s easy to access high-speed internet at home (vs. 78% globally). And paying without cash is no issue according to 94% of respondents (vs. 83% globally).

However, Spain ranks 29th for Admins Topics, as factors such as dealing with local bureaucracy (31st) and obtaining a visa (34th) can be challenging.

In the Language Subcategory, Spain finds itself in the upper mid-field (22nd). While it’s difficult to communicate without knowing the local language (34th), expats say Spanish easy to learn (11th) — in fact, more than half (55%) agree (vs. 38% globally) and just 4% don’t speak it at all (vs. 12% globally).

The Typical Expat in Spain

Further Reading