Singapore leads the world as the most pleasant place to move to permanently, according to a survey of expats.
Sometimes you just want to get away – far, far away, and forever.
So where do you go?
According to HSBC’s annual Expat Explorer survey, the answer has changed over the last year. The study ranked countries based on experience, economics, the quality of raising expat children, and ranked the top 20 countries in terms of which are most inviting to newcomers.
Switzerland was the No. 1 choice one year ago, but it has dropped to No. 10, while several new countries entered the top 20. Another key takeaway: people would be better off moving to Russia than to the United States.
Taking a closer look at expats who move to the United States, the HSBC survey indicates that two-thirds live here for more than five years, while only 44 percent of U.S. expats remain in their new country for that amount of time. Among expats with families, 61 percent said it was better for their family living in the U.S. than in their home country.
Here is a detailed look at the top five (which does not include the United States), and the list of the remaining countries in the top 20:
No. 1 Singapore – “One of the cleanest and safest cities in the world, Singapore is a multicultural hub that’s worked hard to earn its place among the thriving Asian Tiger economies,’’ HSBC said in its report. Among all of the countries in the world, Singapore ranked first in school quality, second in economics and third in both experience and family culture. The knock on Singapore is the cost of living, which is extremely high, and a lack of interest in work-life balance among employers.
No. 2 New Zealand – Rated as the best place to bring up children, New Zealand also ranked No. 1 for experience, as 77 percent of expats living in New Zealand report their quality of life is better there than the country from which they moved. New Zealand ranked very low, however, for expat disposable income and wage growth.
No. 3 Sweden – This is the No. 1 choice for raising a family, ranking first in both childcare quality and cost. Sweden also scores highly for job security and work-life balance. Environment is also a huge factor in Sweden’s ranking. It does cost a lot for all of those amenities, and it is sometimes difficult to find a place to live.
No. 4 Bahrain – This Islamic island nation in the Middle East ranks highly in the experiences expats have in moving there, as well as a location with a thriving economy. Bahrain ranks highly in disposable income and work-life balance. It also has a cultural support system for families.
No. 5 Germany – The economy is great, and expat parents say they love the country’s systems for raising children. Germany has a very stable political system and is very low crime, making it a safe place to live (66 percent of expats said Germany was safer than their home country). Germany is expensive to live in, and the opportunities for social life are slim in comparison to other locations.
Ranking 6-10 are Canada, Australia, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, and Switzerland. Eleven through 20 were Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Spain, Oman, Russia, the United States, India, the Czech Republic, Mexico and Malaysia.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.