Bahrain named as best country in the world for expats for the first time

by Ray Clancy on September 13, 2017

Bahrain has been named as the new best country in the world for expats thanks to a welcoming outlook and being a place where expats feel they can settle in easily.

In second place in the latest Expat Insider survey is Costa Rica where expats also say they get a warm welcome, with Mexico in third place due to it being an easy place to live and offering good value for money.


It means that three of the less likely locations for expats have knocked more traditional expat destinations from the top of the Expat Insider rankings. Indeed, Bahrain was just 19th in the 2016 survey but improvements across all the survey indices have propelled the nation to the top.

A once traditional favourite New Zealand is sixth, Spain comes in at 10, with Portugal the highest ranked European country at five. At the bottom is Greece, ranked 65, below Kuwait, Nigeria and Brazil and Italy also has a poor showing at 60.

The survey report says that Bahrain really excels in making expats feel at home, and the country tops the ease of settling in index and also comes first for being able to get by without learning the local language as most people speak English.

Expats in Bahrain are also happy with their careers, coming third in the working abroad index and second for jobs and careers, but expats in Bahrain are less positive about the state of the economy with the nation in 25th place and 18th for job security.

The cost of living has remained the same in Bahrain and in personal finance it has improved by 13 places and in terms of their financial situation, 68% of expats are generally satisfied, and 41% say that they earn a lot more than they would back home while the ranking for families has also improved, first for family life in general and fourth for the friendly attitude towards families with children.

Costa Rica came first for finding friends and 19% of expats saying their social circle is mostly Costa Ricans and 63% saying it’s a mix of locals and expats while the country has increased in the quality of live, ease of settling in and family life ratings with better scores in quality of education and the availability of childcare and education.

There were also big improvements in the p Finance index with 68% saying they are generally satisfied with their financial situation, and 79% saying they have enough or more than enough to cover their daily expenses.

Ranking in the top five of the Expat Insider survey every year, Mexico retakes its place in the top three and ranked second for ease of settling in while 14% said they primarily moved to Mexico for a better quality of life with the country first in the personal happiness subcategory.

Expats in Mexico are also happy with their financial situation with 80% considering the cost of living a potential benefit before moving. The country ranks fourth in the personal finance index and second in the cost of living index, and 74% of expats say they’re generally satisfied with their financial situation.

At the other end of the ranking Greece and Kuwait have been in the bottom three for four consecutive years, and Nigeria has been in the bottom three since 2015. The report shows that finances and family life are causing headaches for expats in Greece with half of the respondents saying their household income is not enough to cover their daily expenses, with 27% even saying it’s not nearly enough to get by.

One British respondent mentioned having ‘feelings of insecurity due to the economic crisis’ and declines in the cost of childcare and education categories as well as the family well-being subcategories also led to Greece taking last place in the family life index.


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