The Top 10 Expat Destinations According Google

by Mark Benson on July 18, 2011

Top Expat Destinations

While it can often be difficult to find specific and detailed information regarding a potential overseas homeland of the future we have undertaken a review of various statistics and figures available to show the top 10 expat destinations according to Google. This will give a very interesting insight into the way in which potential expats of the future are thinking and where in the world they are looking to make their new home.

Creating our statistics

We have used the data from a number of Google sources as well as popular expat sub-forums on the expatforum.com website. The specific Google sources we have used include Google Trends, Google Keywords and Google Insights which give both their forecasts going forward and historic information regarding popular searches on the world’s most popular search engine. We will now attempt to disseminate the information we have collected and give you an update on the top 10 expat destinations according to Google.

1. Australia

It will come as no surprise to learn that moving to Australia is one of the more popular topics across a wide range of expat forums and now we have the statistical data to back up these claims. A quick glimpse at Google Insights shows that, as many people would expect, there is a significant peak in use of the search term “moving to Australia” immediately after the New Year when more and more people are looking to the future wherever this may be. It is also interesting to learn that the following search terms are also very popular:-

Moving to Australia receives 9,900 monthly global searches and 4,400 in the UK

Jobs in Australia receives 40,500 monthly global searches and 12,100 in the UK

Emigrating to Australia receives 8,100 monthly global searches and 6,600 in the UK

Over the past six or seven years we have seen a fairly constant number of search terms with regards to moving to Australia and while there are various peaks and troughs throughout the year, Google Insights believes that the trend for New Year search peaks, tailing off towards the end of the year, will continue throughout 2012.

2. Dubai

In the eyes of many people the subject of moving to Dubai is something of a busted flush with a peak in the use of the search term “moving to Dubai” seen in 2007 and 2008, falling off dramatically in 2009, 2010 and not expected to show any major increase in 2012. However, it is worth noting that despite the fact that the Dubai economy has undergone a monumental change over the last decade, with tremendous highs and tremendous lows, there is still great interest in this area of the world. Using the same search terms in relation to Australia, which we will use throughout this review, the statistics for keywords searches are as follows:-

Moving to Dubai receives 880 global monthly searches of which 390 emanate from the UK

Jobs in Dubai receives a very significant 90,500 global searches of which 9,900 came from the UK

Emigrating to Dubai receives only 73 global searches per month of which 58 are from the UK

If you take any one of the above search statistics in isolation you have a picture of a very popular or a very unpopular destination for expats. However, looking at the figures as a whole it would appear that there is still significant interest in Dubai as a future home for many people whether this is in relation to retirement, employment or any of the reason. Those who have long since buried Dubai as a “busted flush” may well need to think again as and when the worldwide economy recovers.

However, Saudi Arabia is a strict Islamic (and non-democratic) country in which capital punishment such as public beheadings, amputation of limbs without anaesthetic, whipping and torture are within the Sharia law. This is something you should consider seriously along with the tax advantages you get from working there. These punishments can be meted out for things you may not have considered a crime, such as homosexuality, ‘sedition’ (criticising the ruling elite), ‘criticising Islam’, ‘sex outside of a marriage’ (or temporary-marriage), ‘witchcraft’, and of course ‘drinking alcohol without a permit’. See Capital Punishment in Saudi Arabia. If you support Saudi ideals, or are simply interested in profits, then by all means support their country.

3. Canada

It is interesting to see that despite the fact Canada has been a very popular expat destination for some years now the general trend in Google Insights appears to be slightly down after a peak in 2005. However, there would appear to be record numbers of US citizens looking to move to Canada and this trend is likely to continue if the press headlines are correct. Taking one specific statistic in isolation is fairly risky therefore we will look at the search terms relating to Canada and detail the information below:-

Moving to Canada receives 5,400 global searches per month with 1,600 from the UK

Jobs in Canada receives 49,500 searches per month on a global basis with 5,400 from the UK

Emigrating to Canada receives a very respectable 3,600 global monthly searches of which 2,400 came from the UK

It is interesting to see that despite the general trend on Google Insights indicating a fall in interest with regards to moving to Canada, the data regarding keyword searches appear to be slightly different. If you check out the vast majority of expat forums you will see that Canada has and remains a very popular destination for many expats and this is likely to continue for some time to come. If you are moving to Canada you should consider opening an international Canada bank account before you arrive, so your money will be ready for you as you step off the plane.

4. America

There is no doubt that on a global basis the interest in moving to America remains extremely high despite the fact that immigration controls have been tightened somewhat since 9/11 and the process of receiving a “green card” has been extended. Despite recent negative press, regarding America and in particular the American economy, this area of the world is still seen as the land of “milk and honey” although whether expats having lived the life will agree with this remains to be seen. The search word trend with regards to America and those looking to find a new homeland include:-

Moving to America receives a surprisingly low in 1,900 global monthly searches of which 1,600 are UK based

Jobs in America also receives a relatively low of 5,400 global monthly searches with 2,900 from the UK

Emigrating to America also receives a relatively low 1,000 global monthly searches the vast majority of which, according to Google, emanate from the UK

One reason why these search terms appear to be relatively low is the fact that many people may replace the term “America” with the “US” or even “USA”. You may also see specific searches with regards to various areas of America which as we know is a vast country. This is perhaps an indication that you need to do your own homework if you’re looking to move overseas and while trends and statistics will help they are not the be all and end all.

5. Mexico

Mexico is a very interesting area of the world although various health scares and political issues have no doubt blighted the country’s reputation in years gone by. According to Google Insights there was a peak in the search term “moving to Mexico” back in 2004 and while there have been a number of fairly large peaks in the following years the trend would appear to be downwards from the high of 2004. Whether due to the overall worldwide economic situation or situations specific to Mexico there has been something of a plateau with regards to the trend in the use of the search term “moving to Mexico”. The other search term data which we have obtained includes:-

Moving to Mexico receives just 880 global monthly searches of which 36 from the UK

Jobs in Mexico receives 1,900 searches per month on a global basis with just under 150 from the UK

Emigrating to Mexico is a relatively small search term receiving less than 30 global monthly searches and negligible amounts from the UK

Again, on the surface it would appear that interest in Mexico has waned somewhat over the last few years but a look at theexpatforum.com shows that the number of post in relation to Mexico is very healthy indeed. Is this a situation where a relatively wide group of popular search terms can often have a negative impact upon the more traditional terms?

6. Portugal

There is no doubt that Portugal has been and continues to be a very popular expat destination especially for those in the UK. However, as the worldwide expat market has grown over the last six or seven years we have seen a general reduction in specific interest in moving to Portugal. Google Insights data suggests a peak in 2005/2006 and again interest would appear to grow in the New Year and the summertime annually. Even though the graph in Google Insight indicates a downward trend this is probably from a relatively high base. The other search terms we have used include:-

Moving to Portugal receives just 400 global monthly searches with 170 from the UK

Jobs in Portugal receives a healthy 1,600 searches a month on global basis with around 500 from the UK

Emigrating to Portugal receives less than 40 global searches per month and only 16 from the UK

We have to admit that some of the figures emanating from Google would appear to be relatively low compared to historic data but in reality, for many people, in the past the likes of Portugal and Spain were the only possible expat destination, although this has changed dramatically over the last 20 years or so. The number of possible destinations is now enormous and the Internet has allowed those with a more adventurous mindset to uncover potential gems. If you want a secure offshore location for your money with international access, open an international Portugal bank account before you leave.

7. Cyprus

Cyprus is a country which attracts very different opinions and has been embroiled in often volatile political situations in the region. However, there are a significant number of posts on the expatforum.com which certainly indicate that Cyprus is still one of the more popular expat destinations and will likely remain so for some time to come. As with so many of the more “traditional” expat destinations of years gone by we saw a significant peak back in 2004, with regards to search terms, and a general downtrend to the current date. However, again we need to take into account the fact that the number of potential destination for expats has increased dramatically over the last decade. The search term data in relation to Cyprus is as follows:-

Moving to Cyprus receives 400 global monthly searches of which 260 emanate from the UK

Jobs in Cyprus receives a startlingly high 12,100 global searches per month with 2,400 from the UK

The search term emigrating to Cyprus receives just 73 global searches per month with 15 from the UK

Again the above statistical data shows that taking one specific search term in isolation has the potential to give a very different impression of the region and its popularity amongst the expat community. The truth is that Cyprus remains very popular and while it is now a large fish in a larger pond, in relation to the number of destinations available to expats, it does still have many attractions for many people. If you want a secure offshore location for your money with international access, open an international Cyprus bank account before you leave.

8. UK

The statistical data for those looking to move to the UK is again influenced by the specific terms which many people may prefer to use. Some prefer to use the UK and some prefer to use Britain and indeed, as with other places, some people may well use specific cities such as London. However, using the search term moving to the UK it soon becomes very apparent that there is still significant interest in expats moving to the UK. Again, the trend of peaks in interest in the New Year is repeated with many people apparently contemplating their future and where this may lay. The specific search term data with regards to the UK is as follows:-

Moving to the UK receives 1,300 global monthly searches with 260 from the UK

Jobs in the UK receives 3,600 global monthly searches with 1,300 from the UK

Emigrating to the UK receives a surprisingly low 110 global monthly searches with 36 from the UK

This is perhaps a situation where the data presented by Google does not give the overall picture because for a variety of reasons the UK has remained very popular with expats. The social security system, the economy, the standard of living and other elements of life in the UK would appear to sit very well with the hopes and dreams of many people.

9. New Zealand

As seems to be the case with a number of popular expat destinations, according to Google Insights, there was a peak in the number of searches regarding a move to New Zealand back in 2005. While the general trend is moving downwards from 2005 there is still significant interest in moving to New Zealand and in tandem with Australia it seems that more people tend to think of their future in the New Year. Various peaks and troughs are highly visible in the Google graph of New Zealand-based search terms and the individual search term data is as follows;-

The term moving to New Zealand receives a very healthy 2,900 global monthly searches of which 1,000 are from the UK

The search term jobs in New Zealand receives a very impressive 12,900 monthly searches on a global basis with 2,900 from the UK

Emigrating to New Zealand would appear to be a very popular pastime in the UK with 1,900 global searches per month, the vast majority of which seem to emanate from the UK

It is no surprise to learn that New Zealand is still a very popular destination for many expats and indeed the search term data in general would appear to back up this particular opinion. Until the age of the Internet it was surprising how many people saw New Zealand as the “poor cousin” of Australia when in fact the two countries are literally thousands of miles apart. If you want a secure offshore location for your money with international access, open an international New Zealand bank account before you leave.

10. Egypt

The search term moving to Egypt has possibly been enhanced of late due to the recent demonstrations and clashes between the general public and the government. However, there would appear to have been sustained interest in moving to Egypt over the last four years or so because while many search terms have reduced in popularity if anything we have seen an increase in Egyptian expats search terms – according to Google Insight. The specific search term data for Egypt is as follows:-

Moving to Egypt receives a paltry 140 global monthly searches of which 36 are from UK

Jobs in Egypt is a very different situation with 9,900 global monthly searches of which under 500 come from the UK

Emigrating to Egypt is also another disappointing search term with just 16 global searches of which 12 are from the UK

While the need to take all of the search term data from Google, and indeed any other sources, with a pinch of salt because of the large variations and volatile nature of search engine data, we can see certain trends in certain countries. Egypt would appear to be a popular destination for employment while specific expat searches are surprisingly low. If you want a secure offshore location for your money with international access, open an international Egypt bank account before you leave.

Conclusion

There is no simple solution to understanding search term data because everybody has a different way of searching on Google, and other search engines, although hopefully the information above, which was also taken in tandem with the number of posts on various expatforum.com sub-forums, shows the underlying popularity of many countries. We will continue to gather Google data in the months and years ahead and update our findings in due course.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

FutureExpat July 19, 2011 at 2:58 am

What about the top 10 expat destinations from the US??? I bet it would be quite different. . .

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DVFB July 19, 2011 at 10:10 am

'America'? I believe you mean the United States of America. South America is America too.

– A North American

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