Lonely Planet Writer

These are the best countries in the world to live abroad

Many of us dream about moving away to foreign lands, so a recently-published report – the Global Expat Index 2019 – outlining the best countries in the world to live abroad may prove to be helpful.

A woman working on her laptop while sitting by the lake.
A report outlines the best countries for expats to live. Image: Boana/Getty Images

Globehunters decided to find out the best places in the world to move to in 2019, and it analysed a number of factors, including careers and cost of living, quality of life and lifestyle. It ranked 34 OECD countries, and found that Iceland came first, which probably comes as no surprise as it comes top of many people’s bucket lists.

Hikers under the northern lights in Iceland
Hikers under the Northern Lights in Iceland. Image: Christine Corry/Getty Images

Iceland came first in the categories of safety and migrant acceptance, which will be reassuring for anyone planning to live there. The rest of the top ten countries for expats were found to be 2. Austria 3. Canada 4. New Zealand 5. Germany 6. Sweden 7. US 8. Australia 9. The Netherlands and 10. Norway.

A view of Salzburg in Austria
Austria came second is the index of best countries for expats. Image: canadastock/Shutterstock.

Mexico came top for employment rates, cost of living and cost of childcare, which is good news for anyone planning to move there, while Finland topped the chart for happiness, the most essential ingredient of anyone’s life no matter where they live. If you’re planning on living long, Japan was first for life expectancy, and if you want to make money, Switzerland is the best country for average income.

Dancers perform In the Jardin Or Central Square during the annual folk dance festival, San Miguel De Allende, Mexico
Mexico came top for employment rate, cost of living and cost of childcare. Image: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

Iceland being the top choice overall probably has something to do with its amazing displays of nature and cinematic landscapes. The Northern Lights can be found there, and it’s a land where geysers gush, ice-covered volcanoes rumble and glaciers cut great pathways through the mountains. Iceland has some of the world’s highest concentrations of dreamers, authors, artists and musicians, all fuelled by their surroundings. Live music is everywhere, as are visual art, handicrafts and locavore cuisine. The warmth of Icelanders is also disarming, as is their industriousness.

People bathing in a lake in Iceland
Nature is a huge part of Iceland’s attraction. Image: Sergey Didenko/Shutterstock

To see the Global Expat Index 2019 in full, please visit here.