… an email asked me some time ago. The mail came from XING, or more precisely from one of the “business communities” I am registered with. “I don’t think so!” was my first thought, and my second, “Why do you want to know that anyway?” The text informed me of the results of a large survey conducted by XING’s sister platform, InterNations. InterNations asked 12000 expats in 52 countries which country they felt most comfortable in.
Here my curiosity won out and I immediately delved into the results.* Which country would a bona fide expat choose as his or her favourite? But as so often the case with survey results, it was all more complicated than at first glance. There were different sub-“indices”: the Quality of Life Index, the Ease of Settling Index, the Working Abroad Index, the Personal Finance Index and the Expat Essentials Index.
The explanations of the survey results enlightened me about what exactly lies behind these “indices”:
“Quality of Life” Index is about the factors of travel, climate and environment, leisure opportunities, health/wellness and safety; “Ease of Settling” is about the local friendliness and open-mindedness of the local population, making friends and the culture of the host country. “Working Abroad” includes the factors of career prospects, income and job security, work-life balance, and work culture and satisfaction. “Personal Finance” needs no explanation – “Expats Essentials” includes digital infrastructure, administration, housing and language.
I won’t keep you in suspense here, so here are the “Overall Top 5” countries in the 2022 survey in the expat popularity charts:
The explanatory notes to the results make it clear that Mexico owes its top position primarily to the good ratings in the areas of “Ease of Settling” and “Personal Finance”. Its dining options and natural environment are also highly appreciated.
Indonesia is popular because life and especially housing are very affordable there. With Taiwan in third place, I thought “Really, even now?” and wondered if the political situation plays no role here at all. However, the vast majority of expats feel safe there. According to the notes, medical care and ease of settling in were among the factors that weighed in this vote. Spain and Portugal score with tasty food, good weather and also with ease of settling in.
Germany ranks 42nd out of 52 in the overall ranking – in the category “Expats Essentials” it even comes in last place. The main complaints are the housing situation, slow internet and too few options for cashless payments. In addition, life in Germany is experienced as difficult if one does not speak German.
By the way, in the overall ranking Kuwait is in 52nd place – the only Gulf state not in the top 10. This is (surprise, surprise) primarily due to the high cost of living – a factor that also negatively influences the ratings of New Zealand and Hong Kong.
Reading the results, I was glad that I am not an expat and do not have to do the rating. So many criteria and, at least for me, they don’t all weigh equally. How are they assessed in individual cases? Would you rather have delicious food and no doctor nearby – or vice versa? Surrounded by nice people – but slow internet? Poor remuneration – but nice weather? With this detailed catalogue of criteria, I’d have a hard time scoring.
I also felt a bit sorry for Germany. Ok, the weather is not always good, and for people from other countries German authorities can be a challenge. But in my opinion, 42nd place does my fatherland a bitter injustice.
Maybe our Harlequin will find its way to Mexico, Indonesia or Taiwan and be read by an expat. May I then kindly request a guest contribution from an expert’s point of view?
And to come back to where we started, here again in all clarity – and without wanting to offend the Mexicans in any way: “No, XING – I will definitely not emigrate to Mexico!“
Original text: BBR
English translation: BCO