Special Report

Best Countries To Move To

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In the 21st century, with technological breakthroughs, ever-improving communication, better opportunities for travel as well as a rise in the living standards around the world, even more people have moved to live in another country. (Here are the 15 countries Americans are moving to the most.)

To find the best countries to move to, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the World Expat Index, produced by expat insurance company William Russell. The report ranks the countries on quality of life for people who have moved there using an index that consists of four main categories: happiness, health, labor, and quality of life. The highest possible score in each of the four subcategories is 10, with the maximum overall score for the index being 40. We listed the 22 countries that scored at least a 20 in the Expat Index.

The Scandinavian countries occupy the top three positions on the list. Finland and Norway retained their positions in first and third, but the big mover was Sweden, which climbed to second from seventh. Sweden ranks fourth and fifth in happiness and health, respectively.

Eight of the first 10 slots and 17 of the 22 countries listed are European nations. The highest non-Scandinanvian country on the list is Austria. Though the Alpine country slipped to fourth from second overall, Austria scores in the top 10 in all four categories. (Find out which are the countries with the best paid leave for new parents.)

New Zealand and Australia rank fifth and sixth, respectively. New Zealand rose four places to ninth. Australia and New Zealand rank first and second in total happiness score.

As for the United States, America ranks 27th on the Expat Index list and is therefore not included here. Still, the U.S. ranks ninth in the total happiness score.

Click here to see the best countries to move to.

Click here to read our detailed methodology.

22. Czech Republic
> World expat score: 20.3/40
> Total happiness score: 4.4/10 — #33 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 4.5/10 — #20 best out of 53
> Total health score: 5.6/10 — #16 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 5.8/10 — #17 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 5.1% — #36 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 78 years — tied #25 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $17,172 — #27 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.71/1 — #37 best out of 53

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21. Belgium
> World expat score: 20.4/40
> Total happiness score: 5.4/10 — #24 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 4.8/10 — #14 best out of 53
> Total health score: 5.6/10 — #16 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 4.7/10 — #30 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 17.3% — #13 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 81 years — tied #15 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $36,494 — #12 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.79/1 — #8 best out of 53

20. Spain
> World expat score: 21.0/40
> Total happiness score: 6.1/10 — #16 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 4.4/10 — #21 best out of 53
> Total health score: 4.5/10 — #35 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 6.0/10 — #14 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 14.6% — #18 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 82 years — tied #6 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $22,549 — #22 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.79/1 — #9 best out of 53

19. Saudi Arabia
> World expat score: 21.0/40
> Total happiness score: 8.4/10 — #6 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 2.3/10 — #47 best out of 53
> Total health score: 5.7/10 — #15 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 4.6/10 — #31 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 38.7% — #3 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 75 years — tied #42 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $17,418 — #26 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.60/1 — #52 best out of 53

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18. Ireland
> World expat score: 21.0/40
> Total happiness score: 7.2/10 — #10 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 3.9/10 — #24 best out of 53
> Total health score: 4.5/10 — #36 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 5.4/10 — #20 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 17.6% — #12 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 82 years — tied #6 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $41,459 — #6 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.80/1 — #6 best out of 53

17. Portugal
> World expat score: 21.1/40
> Total happiness score: 3.9/10 — #39 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 5.2/10 — #6 best out of 53
> Total health score: 5.5/10 — #21 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 6.5/10 — #11 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 9.8% — #29 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 81 years — tied #15 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $17,471 — #25 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.78/1 — #15 best out of 53

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16. Canada
> World expat score: 21.2/40
> Total happiness score: 8.9/10 — #2 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 3.2/10 — #36 best out of 53
> Total health score: 3.6/10 — #46 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 5.4/10 — #21 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 21.3% — #7 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 82 years — tied #6 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $34,808 — #14 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.77/1 — #17 best out of 53

15. Kazakhstan
> World expat score: 21.6/40
> Total happiness score: 7.5/10 — #8 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 4.9/10 — #11 best out of 53
> Total health score: 5.3/10 — #23 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 3.9/10 — #40 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 19.9% — #8 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 71 years — tied #49 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $6,627 — #42 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.71/1 — #38 best out of 53

14. France
> World expat score: 21.9/40
> Total happiness score: 5.5/10 — #21 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 4.8/10 — #13 best out of 53
> Total health score: 7.3/10 — #3 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 4.2/10 — #36 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 13.1% — #22 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 82 years — tied #6 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $31,775 — #17 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.78/1 — #10 best out of 53

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13. Estonia
> World expat score: 22.2/40
> Total happiness score: 6.4/10 — #13 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 3.7/10 — #30 best out of 53
> Total health score: 4.7/10 — #30 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 7.4/10 — #3 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 15.0% — #17 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 78 years — tied #25 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $19,406 — #24 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.73/1 — #25 best out of 53

12. Denmark
> World expat score: 22.3/40
> Total happiness score: 6.0/10 — #17 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 5.1/10 — #7 best out of 53
> Total health score: 4.3/10 — #37 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 6.9/10 — #7 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 12.4% — #26 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 82 years — tied #6 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $52,663 — #3 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.77/1 — #18 best out of 53

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10. Latvia
> World expat score: 22.4/40
> Total happiness score: 5.7/10 — #18 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 4.9/10 — #12 best out of 53
> Total health score: 4.5/10 — #34 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 7.3/10 — #5 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 12.7% — #25 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 75 years — tied #42 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $13,734 — #32 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.78/1 — #13 best out of 53

10. Slovenia
> World expat score: 22.4/40
> Total happiness score: 5.6/10 — #20 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 5.0/10 — #8 best out of 53
> Total health score: 4.2/10 — #39 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 7.5/10 — #2 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 13.4% — #21 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 81 years — tied #15 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $20,262 — #23 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.74/1 — #24 best out of 53

9. Lithuania
> World expat score: 23.4/40
> Total happiness score: 5.3/10 — #26 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 5.3/10 — #4 best out of 53
> Total health score: 5.5/10 — #19 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 7.3/10 — #4 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 5.3% — #34 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 75 years — tied #42 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $17,028 — #28 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.80/1 — #5 best out of 53

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8. Germany
> World expat score: 23.6/40
> Total happiness score: 6.1/10 — #15 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 4.7/10 — #16 best out of 53
> Total health score: 6.9/10 — #4 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 5.9/10 — #15 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 18.8% — #11 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 81 years — tied #15 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $38,407 — #10 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.80/1 — #7 best out of 53

7. The Netherlands
> World expat score: 23.6/40
> Total happiness score: 5.5/10 — #23 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 5.8/10 — the best out of 53
> Total health score: 6.1/10 — #9 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 6.3/10 — #13 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 13.8% — #20 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 81 years — tied #15 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $42,296 — #5 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.76/1 — #20 best out of 53

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6. Australia
> World expat score: 24.5/40
> Total happiness score: 9.4/10 — the best out of 53
> Total labor score: 3.0/10 — #39 best out of 53
> Total health score: 6.3/10 — #7 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 5.8/10 — #16 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 30.1% — #4 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 83 years — tied #2 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $39,193 — #8 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.73/1 — #28 best out of 53

5. New Zealand
> World expat score: 24.6/40
> Total happiness score: 8.9/10 — #2 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 3.9/10 — #26 best out of 53
> Total health score: 5.2/10 — #25 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 6.6/10 — #9 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 28.7% — #5 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 82 years — tied #6 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $33,692 — #15 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.84/1 — #3 best out of 53

4. Austria
> World expat score: 25.5/40
> Total happiness score: 7.2/10 — #10 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 5.0/10 — #9 best out of 53
> Total health score: 6.5/10 — #6 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 6.8/10 — #8 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 19.3% — #10 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 81 years — tied #15 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $38,848 — #9 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.78/1 — #14 best out of 53

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3. Norway
> World expat score: 25.8/40
> Total happiness score: 8.7/10 — #5 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 5.3/10 — #3 best out of 53
> Total health score: 4.8/10 — #28 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 7.0/10 — #6 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 15.7% — #15 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 83 years — tied #2 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $53,518 — the highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.85/1 — #2 best out of 53

2. Sweden
> World expat score: 26.8/40
> Total happiness score: 8.7/10 — #4 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 4.8/10 — #15 best out of 53
> Total health score: 6.7/10 — #5 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 6.6/10 — #10 best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 19.8% — #9 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 82 years — tied #6 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $44,430 — #4 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.82/1 — #4 best out of 53

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1. Finland
> World expat score: 26.9/40
> Total happiness score: 7.6/10 — #7 best out of 53
> Total labor score: 5.3/10 — #4 best out of 53
> Total health score: 6.2/10 — #8 best out of 53
> Total quality of life score score: 7.9/10 — the best out of 53
> Share of population that are expats (2019): 7.0% — #32 highest out of 53
> Life expectancy at birth (2020): 82 years — tied #6 longest out of 53
> Avg. income per capita (2020): $39,931 — #7 highest out of 53
> Gender equality score (2021): 0.86/1 — the best out of 53

Methodology

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the World Expat Index, produced by expat insurance company William Russell. The report ranks the countries on quality of life for people who have moved there using an index, which consists of four main categories, happiness, health, labor, and quality of life. The highest possible score in each of the four subcategories is 10, with the maximum overall score for the index being 40. We listed the 22 countries that scored at least a 20 in the Expat Index. 

William Russell ranked all the countries for which there was consistent available data across all measures. The countries considered were either in the OECD, scored an eight or higher in the Human Development Index, or were among the 50 largest by GDP worldwide. 

The share of each country’s population that are expats is for 2019 and came from the United Nations population division. Life expectancy at birth and average income per capita came from the World Bank and are for 2020. The gender equality score is out of a maximum score of 1 and came from the 2021 Global Gender Gap report. It should be noted that in a few cases, the data listed is not the most recent available, but it was the most recent at the time the expat index was published, so to be consistent with that ranking we listed the values that factored into the score.

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