The top 30 countries in the world to work, make friends, and raise a family in 2019

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  • More than 20,000 expats living in 187 countries and
    regions rated various aspects of their lives away from home for
    InterNations, an expat network based in Germany.
  • They were asked questions from the cost of living, to
    the quality of medical care, to the ease of making local
  • Their answers were then weighted and calculated to rank
    the top 30 countries in the world for expats.
  • Scroll down to see what those countries
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    Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Finding a new country that isn’t too expensive, is fun, and has
good job prospects isn’t easy.

That’s why every year, the InterNations expat network asks
people from 187 countries and regions to rate various aspects of
their home away from home, from the cost of living, to the quality
of medical care, to the ease of making local friends.

This year, the network interviewed more than 20,000 expats from
around the world about their lives and weighted their responses to
rank the top 30 countries in the world overall. Every country had a
sample size of at least 40 respondents.

Scroll down to see if your country made the list.

30. Hungary — Expats say Hungary it is a great place to base
themselves to travel around Europe. People also say it’s easy to
socialize and find leisure activities, and that the cost of living
is relatively low.

However, respondents say local Hungarians are generally
unfriendly and that it’s hard to learn the local language.

29. Indonesia — In Indonesia socializing is easy and it’s not
difficult to make local friends. People are generally satisfied
with their work-life balance, with full-time employees working an
average of 46.4 hours a week, or just over nine hours a day.

However, expats say they’re unhappy with the quality and cost of
medical care here.

The country is also facing a climate threat, and is currently
trying to move its capital from the sinking city of Jakarta to
another island.

Read more:
Indonesia is spending $33 billion to move its capital from a
sinking city to an island where forests have been burning

28. Belgium — One of the best countries in the world for raising
a family because childcare and education is accessible and
high-quality. People here are also happy with their job security.

Almost all respondents say it’s easy to travel in and around the

However, expats say they are less happy with their work-life
balance and that there are not many leisure options available in
the country.

Almost half of expats also say they struggle making local

27. Philippines — Expats say it’s easy to make local friends and
the cost of living is fairly low.

However, they say the country is environmentally unfriendly, not
technologically savvy, and that transport is inaccessible.

Parent say childcare is easy to afford, but that the quality of
education is relatively low.

26. Morocco — Expats in the North African nation say
overwhelmingly that it is a good place for making friends and
maintaining relationships. They also say locals are popular with

Expats say the weather and climate is also great here.

However, the country is rated badly in terms of available
leisure activities and quality of medical care.

Read more:
After spending a month in Morocco, I can tell you the best part of
the country isn’t its cities

25. Thailand — In Thailand, medical care is above-par and the
country is family-friendly.

However, Thailand ranks badly in terms of the quality of the
environment and political stability.

“There is no care for the environment,” an expat from Luxembourg

Read more:
Thailand might move its capital somewhere else because Bangkok is
getting too busy and is constantly covered in smog

24. The Netherlands — A popular place for expats to work and
travel around.

While almost all expats say they like the opportunities to
travel while living in The Netherlands, it’s expensive.

“Traveling is insanely costly,” an Indian expat told

Expats also say they struggle to find new friends, with just
half saying it’s easy to get used to Dutch culture.

23. Estonia — Most expats in Estonia are happy with the state of
the economy and their work-life balance.

However, many expats say it’s hard to learn the local language,
make new friends, and get used to the local culture.

One expat from Germany said a big challenge was “increasing
hostility towards foreigners” here.

22. Kazakhstan — The central Asian state is becoming an
increasingly popular expat destination. People are happier with
their career prospects and personal finances here, and say it’s
relatively easy to get around the capital city, Nur-Sultan.

While expats appreciate the culture here, the majority of them
say it’s hard to settle down.

21. Costa Rica — The majority of respondents in Costa Rica say
they are generally happy with their lives, and that locals “could
not be any friendlier.”

However, people say the country is getting more and more
expensive to live in. Just under half of InterNations respondents
said their disposable household income is more than enough to cover
daily expenses, compared to 17% last year.

An increasing proportion of expats also say they’re unhappy with
their job security and the state of the national economy.

20. Canada — Most expats in Canada are happy with the economy and
job prospects, and say it’s a good place to raise children.

However, it’s expensive to live in some of its major cities.

The Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability
Survey ranked Vancouver the second-most expensive city to live in
this year.

Read more:
The 10 most expensive cities to live in around the world in

19. Finland — Finland is seen as a good place to raise children,
and more than half respondents are happy with their job prospects
and security.

However, expats say it’s hard to make new friends, likely due to
the difficulties of learning the local language.

18. Qatar — People say Qatar is an easy place to settle down, and
it’s easy to get used to and blend in with the local culture.

Qatar is an increasingly popular expat destination, InterNations

The country charges a 0% personal income tax, which survey
respondents appear to enjoy.

“Here, I can save up for traveling and the future,” a Canadian
expat told InterNations.

However, Qatar has tense relations with neighbor Saudi Arabia,

which is trying to turn the country into an island


17. Australia — Leisure options and quality of healthcare in the
Land Down Under are top notch.

However, expats have described many aspects of daily life as

Read more:
I went to a Costco in Australia to see how it compared to Costcos
in the US — here’s what it was like inside

16. Colombia — Colombian locals are friendly and helpful, and the
cost of living is cheap.

“The Colombians are helpful, happy, and hopeful people,” an
American expat told InterNations.

However, the country is one of the worst countries in the world
for peacefulness and personal safety.

15. New Zealand — Australia’s smaller cousin appears ideal for
expat families, considering the high quality of childcare,
education, and job working hours.

Expats also say it’s a tech-savvy nation, with 95% of
respondents saying it’s easy to get around without cash.

The country has also been ranked in the top ten best countries
for working women.

Read more:
RANKED: The 10 best countries for women to work abroad

14. Israel — Expats in Israel are overall satisfied with their
jobs and say there’s always something to do for fun.

The general cost of living is relatively high, though some
expats say they still have a fairly high disposable household

Read more:
What it’s like to be a billionaire in Tel Aviv, one of the most
expensive cities in the world, where old wealth and new tech money
live side by side

13. Panama — Expats in Panama generally seem very happy with
their jobs. People like their working hours, work-life balance, and
have job security.

A majority of expats here also say they can settle down easily

However, many say they are unhappy with the local transportation
infrastructure and availability of government services online.

12. Luxembourg — The majority of expats here feel satisfied with
their career prospects and secure in their job, and say the quality
of life is good.

Expats complain of the high cost of living here, though —
which is unsurprising considering it’s
one of the richest countries
in the world. They also say it’s
hard to make local friends here.

Read more:
Here’s what it’s like to visit Luxembourg

11. Bulgaria — Foreigners in Bulgaria like the low cost of living
and say it’s easy to blend into the local culture.

However, expats say it’s hard to break the language barrier in
the country, and that they’re concerned about the local economy and
political stability.

10. The Czech Republic (aka Czechia) — Expats here enjoy the
opportunities to travel both within the country and outside it.

Most expats are happy with the cost of living and healthcare in
the country.

However, it appears hard to settle in this country. More than a
third of expats described the population as generally unfriendly,
and most said it was hard to learn the local language, Czech.

9. Malaysia — Expats in Malaysia say they earn more than enough
to cover their daily household needs, and that it’s easy to settle
down and make new friends.

“There are many places to visit, and you will never run out of
things to do,” a Philippine expat told InterNations.

However, only half of respondents said they were satisfied with
their career prospects there.

8. Ecuador — Expats here are the happiest in the world, and say
the cost of living is low.

“Life is just simpler and more enjoyable,” an American expat
told InterNations.

However, expats don’t seem too happy with the job opportunities
and satisfaction, with 31% of respondents saying they’re unhappy
with their career prospects.

They also say it’s hard to navigate without cash. 

7. Bahrain — Career prospects are good in Bahrain, and the
environment is good for families with children, expats said.

Expats also say it’s easy to make friends and settle down
without speaking the local language, Arabic.

However, many also say they are unhappy with their working hours
and job security.

One Indian expat in the country complained of “the economy’s
instability and the fact that there is no growth.”

6. Singapore — It’s easy to settle down and people feel safe in
Singapore. Almost all respondents say they are happy with the
city’s local transportation system and that it’s easy to travel
around the region.

Expats in Singapore say they’re very happy with their quality of
life and that it’s safe and easy to settle down.

English is widely spoken in the city state, though many locals
also speak Mandarin Chinese. Many expats say it’s easy to live
there without speaking the local language.

However, Singapore ranks among the most expensive countries for
healthcare, education, and general cost of living.

Read more:
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15-minute process from check-in to the gate

5. Spain — Spanish healthcare is affordable and high-quality, and
locals are welcoming to families with children.

People also rate Spain’s climate and availability of leisure
activities as two of the country’s best features.

However, expats also say they worry about the country’s economy
and career prospects.

4. Mexico — Expats say locals are friendly, and the cost and
quality of childcare and education are good.

However, many respondents say they worry about the personal
safety of themselves and their children in the country.

3. Portugal — Portugal’s weather is good, it’s easy to settle
down, and there are plenty of options for socializing.

Expats also appreciate the relatively low cost of living in

However, only half of respondents are positive about their
career prospects and job security in the country.

2. Vietnam — Life in Vietnam is affordable and expats’ disposable
income is more than enough to cover daily costs. People here are
also happy with their career opportunities.

Integrating in Vietnam is easy and the locals are welcoming, a
separate group of expats
told HSBC
earlier this year.

However, the country lags behind in terms of digital life and
the quality of the environment there, respondents told

1. Taiwan — Expats overwhelmingly praise the quality of life,
affordability and quality of healthcare, safety, and career
prospects in Taiwan.

In May 2019, Taiwan’s parliament also became the
first in Asia to legalize same-s*x marriage

Read more:
14 photos of celebrations in Taiwan after it legalized same-s*x

However, 52% of InterNations’ respondents say they have trouble
learning the local language, Chinese.

Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News
The top 30 countries in the world to work, make friends, and raise a family in 2019