Travel | May 19, 2021 10:53 am

This Is the Best Country for Expats in 2021

Due to COVID, there was a lot of turnover in the annual Expat Insider Survey

A shot of Taipei City in Taiwan, the best place to live for expats according to a new survey
A shot of Taipei City in Taiwan, the best place to live for expats according to a new survey
Timo Volz / Unsplash

If you want to live and work abroad, your best bet is to head to Taiwan, according to the Expat Insider Survey 2021 run by InterNations.

Started in 2014, the annual Expat Insider Survey is a ranking of the best and worst destinations for expats, while also offering insights about expat life in these destinations. The 2021 edition was, no surprise, entitled “The Year of Uncertainty.”

For this year’s survey, more than 12,000 expat respondents representing 174 nationalities and 186 countries and territories took part. According to InterNations, more than 6,000 local residents (many former and future expats) responded to selected questions for the first time, many related to how the COVID-19 pandemic “might have disrupted relocation plans or a recent stay abroad.”

The survey includes rankings for categories such as Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Personal Finance & Cost of Living and Life Abroad During Covid-19. Overall, 37 different factors were used in scoring.

The Best and Worst Places for Expats in 2021 in a chart
The Best and Worst Places for Expats in 2021 in a chart
InterNations

Some findings:

  • The United States ranked 34th out of 59 destinations, but performed decently in categories like Ease of Settling In and Working Abroad … while coming in last in Health & Wellbeing. “The healthcare is expensive, and we are overcharged for almost anything,” as one Belgian expat shared.
  • Taiwan was the big winner this year, coming first. Mexico and Costa Rica were close behind. That said, Taiwan is actually going through a COVID breakout right now.
  • The worst place for expats? A very strange mix of Kuwait (59th), Italy (58th) and South Africa (57th).
  • Finland, Sweden and Norway topped the 2020 list. This year, those countries ranked in the bottom half of the countries overall. Oddly, Finland still finished first in the categories of Safety & Security, Digital Life and Quality of the Environment.
  • Some individual accolades: Best Quality of Life and Health & Wellbeing went to Taiwan; Spain captured Best Leisure Options; Mexico won for Personal Happiness; and Austria topped Travel and Transportation.