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These are the 17 countries you should consider if you want to move abroad


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No one can ever define exactly what constructs a happy life. Money is an entity that a lot of people strive to earn but, as shown in the survey done by InterNations, a happy life is not always inspired by earning a lot of money.

14,300 Expats living abroad in 191 countries rated their happiness on a scale of 1 – 7. Some of the expats, not earning the biggest of wages, and not in countries with the best of infrastructures, came out on top when evaluating their personal happiness.

Although we may never get the answer as to what makes us happiest, these countries clearly have something special allowing expats to live a happy life abroad.

These are the 17 nations where expats are happiest:

17. Portugal

Popular with people who have children, Portugal is in the top five ‘dream destinations’ for expats.

Albufeira, Portugal

Albufeira, Portugal

16. Oman

Expats usually move here because of an already secured job. Although not an obvious choice for expats, Oman came out high in the survey due to general safety and peacefulness.

Dromedary Bedouin Desert, Oman

15. Kenya

Surrounded by nature and wildlife, this has become increasingly popular amongst expats due to large growth in certain job sectors.

Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya

14. Peru

The survey showed that mostly business owners move to Peru – people that already have income. The good weather, cheap cost of living and historical landscapes also create a big pull for expats.

Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru

13. Hungary

With expats earning more but the cost of living staying low, Hungary has become a prime destination.

Chain Bridge, Budapest

Chain Bridge, Budapest

12. Uganda

Expats here raved about their work-life balance, saying a lot of jobs allow for flexible working hours. The ease of settling in and the beautiful natural scenery make life in Uganda a desirable choice. However, there are warnings about travelling between towns after dark and criminal activity.

Rise Watering Hole, Uganda

11. Taiwan

Appearing in the top ten in every single category, Taiwan was number one for the best overall place for expats in 2016. Healthcare and education are said to be of a high quality. Known for its busy night markets social life is ranked highly, however learning the language proves difficult.

Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan

10. Spain

With around 8,000 kilometres of beach, Spain is one of Europe’s top holiday spots - and many claim their stress levels have decreased since living here. Along with the decent weather and job prospects, Spain has ranked as one of the places expats are happiest with.    

Calella Beach, Spain

Callela Beach

9. Panama

Famous for its canal, this is a top destination for trade and logistic experts. The contrasting skyscrapers, casinos and old colonial buildings allow for an intriguing living place. Throw in some nice weather and decent wages and expats say they're happy.

Panama City 

8. Vietnam

Happy with the pleasant nature of the locals, expats in Vietnam rate the country highly, saying it is easy to make new friends. The low cost of living mixed with the beautiful scenery has allowed Vietnam to jump up 24 places in the survey since last year.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

7. Thailand

All street signs in Thailand are bilingual, with English and Thai, however Thai is mandatory in all international schools so ease of settling in is ranked highly. The low cost of living and the possible holiday destinations available whilst living there also make Thailand popular.

Phuket, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand

6. New Zealand

On the other side of the world, this place came out high for the ease of settling in. Healthcare, education and peaceful surroundings all add to expat happiness. With plenty of greenery expats say their stress levels decreased significantly after moving here.

Queenstown, New Zealand

5. Ecaudor

The survey revealed that most people who move to Ecaudor plan to stay there long-term. Its unique national heritage makes for a diverse and cultural living experience.

Cuenca, Ecuaudor

4. Philippines

Expats with families rank the country highly due to their friendliness towards children and good international schools. A low cost of living and a top destination for romance make this a comfortable, happy choice for expats.

Legaspi, Philippines

3. Mexico

Waiting to be explored on bikes and hikes, Mexico has a breathtaking countryside - but over 80% of its 120 million residents live in cities. Named one of worst countries for inequality and a housing shortage, living in Mexico does not come without its challenges. However, ranking highly in friendliness, ease to settle in and weather, expats find living here to be extremely satisfying.

Tulum Beach, Mexico

2. Malta

Malta may be small, but it's big in popularity. Income runs low, but social life and leisure options placed high in the survey. As a former British Colony many of the residents speak English, making settling in easy without needing to know the language. Another reason why it may also appear so high is because 70% of expats in Malta are in a relationship, which is higher than the 63% global average.

Grand Harbour, Malta

1. Costa Rica

Friendliness of the locals has come out on top as they are said to be extremely welcoming, kind and helpful. Bursting with culture, the population is diverse and welcomes people from everywhere. Housing is decently priced and the healthcare system is the best in Central America, whilst pleasant weather and serene surroundings make most expats feel like they are ‘living in paradise’.  

Isla Tortuga, Puntarenas

Isla Tortuga Puntarenas, Costa Rica

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