Many people move abroad to seek a happier life and research backs this up, showing that 40% of expats feel happier after moving to their new country.

The research from HSBC’s Expat Explorer survey also shows that 41% believe that since moving abroad they have a more positive outlook on life.


Portugal and Thailand have the highest number who feel happier after moving at 62% while 60% of expats in Spain do so, along with 59% in Mexico and 58% in New Zealand.

Expat children also feel happier when they move abroad. Some 59% of expat parents say their children’s overall quality of life has improved and 50% say their child’s health and wellbeing is better than in their home country.

The Netherlands stands out for families with 76% of parents saying the health and wellbeing of their child has improved since moving.

Those who retire abroad are also very positive about their life overseas, with 55% saying they feel happier since moving overseas.

The survey results also show that moving to a country with a better climate has a particularly positive effect. The warm climates of Portugal, Thailand, Spain and Mexico are home to the world’s happiest expats.

Meanwhile, the latest World Happiness Report, which ranks 156 nations, has named Finland as the happiest country in the world, followed by Norway, Denmark and Iceland, with the UK and the United States not making it into the top 10.

The rest of the top 10 are Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and Australia, according to the annual report published by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Europe's Nordic nations, none particularly diverse, have dominated the index since it first was produced in 2012. In reaching number one, Finland nudged neighbouring Norway into second place.

John Helliwell, a co-editor of the World Happiness Report and professor emeritus of economics at the University of British Columbia, pointed out that all the top 10 nations scored highest in overall happiness and the happiness of immigrants. He said a society's happiness seems contagious.

‘The most striking finding of the report is the remarkable consistency between the happiness of immigrants and the locally born. Those who move to happier countries gain, while those who move to less happy countries lose,’ he explained.

According to Meik Wiking, chief executive officer of the Copenhagen based Happiness Research Institute, said that Nordic countries are good at converting wealth into well-being.