Ecuador, Luxembourg, and Mexico are the top places for expat living in the world with Greece, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait the worst, according to a new survey.

The index, compiled by Inter Nations Insider, ranks countries according to a series of topics such as work, family, relationships, leisure and personal finances.


Overall, Ecuador comes out on top, mostly due to the low cost of living, the ease of settling in, and the assessment of respondents’ personal happiness. Mexico owes its place among the top three to similar factors as Ecuador, whereas Luxembourg is tops for careers and high income earners.

In fourth place is Switzerland, followed by the United States, Singapore, Spain, the Philippines, Australia and Hong Kong. Other countries popular with expats such as Canada, France and the UK come in at 14th, 40th and 21st respectively.

A breakdown shows that Mexico is the friendliest country, Spain is regarded as welcoming expats with open arms despite the economic crisis, and New Zealand also makes expats feel at home.

Norway, Luxembourg, and Germany are top when it comes to job security and work satisfaction, as well as work life balance. Norway, Costa Rica, and Denmark enjoy great popularity for their working hours and work life balance.

Sweden and Denmark rank high for education and family life in general. France is a popular destination for expat families enjoying the joie de vivre. Switzerland and Austria are also praised for their quality of life.

When it comes to the cost of living, Ecuador offers a lot to expats for little money. Nigeria and Kazakhstan rank poorly in our Cost of Living Index, despite financial stability. However, Nigeria has the highest percentage of top income expats and Argentina, the lowest. The research also found that the highest earning expats are between 41 and 50 years old.

International schools are the most popular choice in Asia and the Middle East, while expat parents in North America and Europe prefer local state schools.

Overall, the highest percentage of expat parents (35%) choose an international school for their children. This result is closely followed by parents who decide to send their children to a local state school (30%). About two in ten parents (19%) enrol their children in local private schools.

Only 7% of parents send their children to a national school, such as a Deutsche Schule or an École Française. Home schooling is an option chosen by just 3% of the survey participants with school age children.

Local state schools are chosen most often in North America and Europe. In several South American countries, as well as in South Africa, the Philippines, and Turkey, local private schools are the most popular option. In Asia and the Middle East, most expat parents prefer to send their children to international schools.

Overall, the survey ranked 61 countries and compiled detailed country profiles for 20 destinations and 15 in depth nationality profiles. An ‘expat typology’, according to reasons for relocating, rounds out the report.