Where is the Happiest Place in the World for Expats?

Some of us find happiness in the simplest things. The smell of freshly cut grass. Indulging in your favourite meal. For others, it is our family, or money, that brings us glee. Living a happy life is different for everybody, but are there some countries where are you most likely to experience it?

InterNation’s Expat Inside Survey asked 14,300 expats living in 191 countries and representing 191 countries to give their opinions on expat life in their country of residence. Of the 43 different aspects analysed, one of the sub-indexes was personal happiness.


With over 4.5 million foreign residents, Spain is one of Europe’s most popular expat destinations. The simple joys of Spanish living and relaxed pace of life draw many to the sunny destination. Furthermore, eating out, transport, groceries, and property prices are incredibly affordable.


An expert in finance or infrastructure? Get across to Panama. Jobs in these industries are plentiful and, in general, expat employment is high. Temperatures don’t dip below 22°C at the very worst and salaries stretch further here than most countries in the world.


Expats live a happy life in Vietnam partly due to the beautiful scenery and intriguing places to explore. It is particularly popular with expats from Western European and was ranked highly for happiness as you can live extremely comfortably on a low wage.


Expats love living in Thailand as the locals are extremely friendly and settling in is easy. The cost of living in Thailand is less expensive than Western countries and foreigners can make a decent living in the IT, logistics, and communications industries.

6.New Zealand

Interestingly, Australia doesn’t feature in the top 10 happiest countries for expats. But, New Zealand does. Championed for its outdoor lifestyle and excellent schools for children, it is no wonder that many are happy living down under.


The South American country is one of the smallest in the continent. But, what it lacks in size it makes up for in expanses of Amazon Rainforest and the majestic Andes, which can all be explored. Beautiful weather and low cost living ensure expats are kept smiling in Ecuador.


As a nationality, Filipinos are well-known for their friendliness and many expat families are happy raising their children there due to this. Living is very affordable and there is a large emphasis on education.


There is more to Mexico than package holidays. Expats living there put their happiness down to the incredible weather and friendliness of the local people. Mexico ranked in 1st place for ease of settling in, another reason for its high ranking.


Located in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is the best expat destination to find love. 70% of expats surveyed are in a relationship, compared to the global average of 63%. The sun shines, it is easy to settle in and there is no language barrier.

1.Costa Rica

Located in South America, Costa Rica is not only unspeakably beautiful, it is the happiest place in the world to be an expat. There is a vast mix of expats in the country, from retirees and stay-at-home mums, to entrepreneurs and full time workers.

The country is a dream expat destination for many and life is made sweet by the kindness of the Costa Ricans, the rich tapestry of cultures, and year-round sunshine. Just be prepared for the rainy season!

Wherever you’re moving overseas don’t forget to invest in an expat insurance product to ensure you’re fully protected.

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