Mexico — According to a poll released Tuesday, Taiwan, Mexico and Costa Rica have been ranked as the best places to live and work abroad in 2021. Survey participants based their decision on the cost of living, ease of settling and overall quality of life.
Taiwan topped the charts for the third year in a row in the survey of 12,420 expats conducted by InterNations, a Munich-based expat network with approximately 4 million members. Expats appreciated Taiwan’s medical care in addition to the quality of life.
Ninety-six percent of respondents were satisfied with the quality of care compared to 71 percent globally. Expats also reported that they were more satisfied with their job security in Taiwan and the state of the local economy than their peers elsewhere.
Health was, of course, a particular concern for expats this year. InterNations measured the role COVID-19 has played in the lives of expatriates, but its pandemic-related findings did not influence the overall ranking of locations. Globally, 45 percent of those surveyed said the pandemic had some influence on their time abroad or their plans to go abroad.
Expats ranked Mexico and Costa Rica second and third, respectively. Both were given high marks for settling, which can be a difficult transition in foreign countries. Kuwait, Russia and Japan scored particularly low in this area.
In Kuwait, 46 percent of expats said they did not feel at home in the local culture and 51 percent had difficulty finding new friends. In Japan, only 45 percent said they felt at home with the local culture, while in Russia, 48 percent of expats said it was difficult to live in the country without speaking the language.
Ninety-one percent of expats described Costa Rica’s population as “generally friendly.” Four out of five expats in Mexico said they were satisfied with their financial situation, while 84 percent of expats in Costa Rica said that disposable family income was “enough or more than enough” to cover all their expenses.
Kuwait, Italy and South Africa were at the bottom of the list. Kuwait ranked last for the seventh time in eight years, scoring poorly on quality of life. Some expats noted its lack of leisure options.
In Italy, 30 percent of expats said they were dissatisfied with their financial situation, while expats in South Africa gave the country low scores on job security and happiness with the state of the local economy.
The United States ranked 34th out of 59 places, largely due to how expats viewed the quality of life in the US. The United States received low scores for quality of life and cost of living.
Expats reported a dislike for some elements of the health care system with only 20 percent being satisfied with its affordability and 19 percent saying the quality of care was negative. That compares with a global average of 14 percent rating their care negatively.