Lonely Planet Writer

The best destinations in the world for people looking to live abroad are revealed

Living abroad is a dream for many people, but with so many incredible countries offering very different experiences, it can be hard to pick the perfect place to start a new life. But, according to a new survey, Singapore is once again the top spot in the world for expats.

Supertree Grove at Gardens By The Bay at night, Singapore
Singapore has been named the best place for expats. Image by ©BigBoom/Shutterstock

Singapore was named the best place to live and work in the latest HSBC Expat Explorer survey, the third year in a row that it’s earned that title. It beat out Norway, which rose four places to come in second. The stable economic and political environment of each made them attractive places to be.

Bergen, Norway. View of historical buildings in Bryggen- Hanseatic wharf in Bergen, Norway. UNESCO World Heritage Site
Norway is one of the top spots for expats. Image by ©Olena Tur/Shutterstock

The survey has been running for ten years, and the company says it is the world’s largest and longest running study of expat life, looking at the experiences of more than 27,500 people from 159 countries and territories. The countries are weighed on how the people living there feel about the economics, the experience and their family life in their host country.

What brings Singapore to the top is that 64% of expats say the quality of life there is better than at home, and 73% say they have better earning prospects there. In fact, people who moved to Singapore said they saw an average 42% increase in their annual income. But, it’s not all fun and games, since expats are less likely to see an improvement in their work/life balance than in other destinations.

A mountaineer by lake in front of Taranaki volcano. New Zealand.
New Zealand provides one of the best experiences for expats. Image by ©jon alkain/Shutterstock

Expats in Norway, on the other hand, overwhelmingly found that their work/life balance improved, with 90% in agreement. About 78% also said that the job security is better than at home, and the majority also found that their children’s quality of life is better there.

The top ten best destinations for expats are: Singapore, Norway, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Austria and the United Arab Emirates. But there were different countries ranked highest in specific areas like economic, experience and family life. When it comes to the countries with the most positive impact on expats’ wealth, the top ranked countries are Switzerland, Norway and Germany. When it comes to quality of life, New Zealand is at the top, followed by Spain and Portugal, and if you have a family, the best place to be is the Netherlands, followed by Sweden and Singapore.