Top 10 Countries Worth Ditching America For from Top 10 Countries Worth Ditching America For

Top 10 Countries Worth Ditching America For

The following list is based on HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey for 2016, which collected responses from thousands of expats around the world. The criteria range from quality of life and culture to career progression and safety.

10. Germany


If you want job security, this is where you should move; the country is ranked No. 1 in that category. Germany is a top choice when it comes to economics and finance. It dropped five spots in just over a year—real estate is expensive, making friends is not very easy, knowing the language (which is not easy to learn) is practically mandatory, integrating is challenging, and social life is not what it used to be.

9. Bahrain


One expat summarizes it very well: “It is a lot different from life back home. However, it is an extremely welcoming country with warm people. It’s better to come in with an open mind. It’s my home away from home.” Expats say it’s easy to make new friends, people are tolerant, real estate is affordable, and the overall quality of life is high. They also recommend not believing in stereotypes because they are not true.  

8. Sweden


Sweden ranks worse this year. It was No. 3 in 2016. Once people get a job, it is considered safe, but getting a promotion and advancing professionally is not as common as it used to be. The country was ranked No. 1 in the childcare quality category and No. 1 overall for families. Expats also appreciate the work/life balance. “Get excited about the outdoors and develop an interest in camping, boating, biking, cross country skiing, hockey and skating....Sweden is a BRILLIANT place to participate in these sports,” one person says.  

7. Austria


Austria makes its debut on the list this year. “Smiles and friendly waves of thanks are welcomed in any language,” one person writes. Do you need much else? If yes, Austria has it. People move there because of job security, prosperous economy, healthcare and overall quality of life for adults as well as children. “As a nation, the Austrians are very friendly and helpful but you do need to make the effort to immerse yourself into the local community,” expats say.

6. Norway


Norway is also new on the list. The overall “verdict” is that the country is ideal for people at the family stage of their life. Expats appreciate the job security, the great work/life balance, wage growth, safety and health and childcare. You may experience a price shock, as Norway is expensive, but it’s worth it. “Learn Norwegian as soon as possible - it makes life much richer! Norwegians are much more informal, especially at work, and society is much more egalitarian,” one expat says.

5. Switzerland


Switzerland is another country that made a big jump. It moved five spots since 2016. Expats rank it so high because of the quality of life, healthcare, education, economic confidence, disposable income, wage growth, and career progression. The country did not get many positive reviews and it comes to social life and making friends, though.  Speaking the language and integrating with the local culture is absolutely crucial, expats say.

4. Czech Republic


The country is “positively challenging.” It was 18th last year in the survey. An important category it tops is the Overall Cost of Children. People ranked the Czech Republic high for financial opportunities, quality of life, childcare, social life, and healthcare, among others. Expats advice people to work hard to earn the respect of the locals and to learn the language. Also, they say, there was no need to own a car; public transportation is highly reliable.

3. Canada


Canada jumped three spots in a year, going from sixth to third place. Expats say they have felt welcome since the very beginning. Not surprisingly the ranked the country No. 2 in the family integration category and No. 1 for tolerance. But if you want to become a citizen, you should prepare to stay in the country for four years, expats say. And make sure you spend at least one winter in Canada before moving permanently.  

2. New Zealand


Staying at No. 2, New Zealand has plenty to offer. Expats prefer is because of work/life balance, entrepreneurship opportunities, career progression, and, surprisingly, politics. New Zealand topped several separate categories in the survey—quality of life, finance and healthcare. “Base yourself as centrally as possible. New Zealand’s cities, especially the northern ones, are a mixture of European, Polynesian and Antipodean cultures. It a fascinating mix you wouldn’t fine anywhere else,” one person says.

1. Singapore


Singapore, one of the safest countries in the world, was No. 1 in last year’s ranking as well. “Endlessly challenging and endlessly stimulating; wholly worth it.” This is how expats describe the city-state. People also say it as a very easy country to move to. “You can enjoy living in the Far East but still enjoy much of home in the west.” The country has gotten more expensive over the last several years, but Singapore is a “land of opportunity” and jobs are not scarce. The country also ranks high in the job security category.