Switzerland named best overall place for Expats

The skyline of the capital city of Manama, Bahrain reflects the quality of life that made the country the “jewel” of the region. Reuters
The skyline of the capital city of Manama, Bahrain reflects the quality of life that made the country the “jewel” of the region. Reuters

Want to make lots of local friends during your life abroad? Try Russia. More interested in local food? Japan’s the place for you. But maybe having more cash in your pockets is crucial for your expat adventure? China might merit close a closer look.

That comes from a recent survey of more than 9,000 expats from HSBC** which focused on three categories: finances, overall quality of life and raising children.

The survey ranked Switzerland first for its strong showing across all of the life-quality measures. But if you drill down into the elements of expat life most important to you – like the quality of the education available for your children – Japan again takes first place. For sheer diversity of their friends and classmates, Hong Kong wins. And for the very best healthcare, Taiwan.

New Zealand comes in first in the work-life balance category. In fact, it won both the broader life experience and raising children categories.

But if you’re looking for the assignments most likely to help you get ahead financially, the top six in the personal disposable income ranking are China, Vietnam, Thailand, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.

In fact, Bahrain is described as “the jewel in the Middle Eastern crown” as the region’s most attractive country for expats, based on its active social life, positive working culture and environment, its accommodations and manageable commutes.

Here’s how the countries fared in the aggregate rankings, across the three categories:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Singapore
  3. China
  4. Germany
  5. Bahrain
  6. New Zealand
  7. Thailand
  8. Taiwan
  9. India
  10. Hong Kong
  11. Canada
  12. Australia
  13. Qatar
  14. Oman
  15. United Arab Emirates
  16. Vietnam
  17. Russia
  18. Japan
  19. Malaysia
  20. Belgium
  21. Mexico
  22. South Africa
  23. France
  24. Spain
  25. Ireland
  26. Turkey
  27. Netherlands
  28. Saudi Arabia
  29. Kuwait
  30. United States
  31. Italy
  32. Brazil
  33. United Kingdom
  34. Egypt


Readers: Are you an expat? How does your city measure up on finances, quality of life and quality of life for kids? Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

** The Expat Explorer survey polled 9,288 expats from over 100 countries through an online questionnaire. For a country to be included in the final tally, it needed at least 100 expat respondents of whom at least 30 were parents. Take a look at the full interactive HSBC Expat Explorer survey here.



Editors Note: Unfortunately Lebanon is not on the list for several reasons, but if the reader is an expat thinking about moving to Lebanon  click here