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Vietnam has extended visa-free travel for Brits
February 5, 2017

Costa Rica Named the Happiest Place to Live

Ever wonder which country is the best or happiest place to live?  Being happy is not an exact formula — earning a lot of money does not necessarily equate to a happy life.  A new survey by InterNations, the world’s largest network for people who live and work abroad, shows that holds true for expats across the entire globe.

Over 14,300 people living overseas, representing 174 nationalities and living in 191 countries or territories, were asked to rate 43 different aspects of life abroad on a scale of 1-7.  One of the sub-indexes looked at personal happiness.

Some of the countries that made the top slots showed that the happiest expats across the globe were not necessarily earning a huge amount of money, nor were they in places that had the best infrastructure.  But there is something intrinsic about living in these countries that satisfies them.

The following is a look at the top 15 Countries that are home to the happiest expats…

Looking out over Portugal

15. Portugal —The country ranks in the top 5 “dream destinations” for expats, according to the survey. It is particularly popular for people emigrating with children.

Oman is arid but beautiful

14. Oman — Expats going to this country usually move with a job already secured. Once they are there, many say good personal safety (57%), political stability (46%), and peacefulness (62%) all contribute Oman making the list of the top 15 happiest places to live.

Giraffes browse at the Ol-Pejeta conservancy in Laikipia county, approximately 200 kilometres north of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi on July 8, 2016.

13. Kenya —The country is becoming increasingly popular with expats, thanks to job growth in various sectors, beautiful surroundings, incredible weather, and a low cost of living.

Old world charm of Lima, Peru.

12. Peru — The survey says that Peru mainly attracts business owners, so expats who already have an income. Many relocate for the weather and low cost of living.

Hungary's historic capital, Budapest.

11. Hungary — Hungary is one of countries that climbed the most in the personal finance index, meaning that people are earning more. This has contributed to the the personal happiness of expats as costs have not risen in line with earnings, making it a cheap place to live.  The math seems to add up:  Good wage + cheap cost of living = one of the happiest places to live.

Tourists taking photos at Xiangshan or Elephant Mountain with the Taipei 101 seen in the background in Taipei, Taiwan

10. Taiwan — The country features near the top of many sub-indexes and expats in Taiwan are “relatively well-off despite low absolute income.” Access to quality healthcare and education also makes expats happy there.

Barcelona's Barceloneta beach

9. Spain — Accommodation, food and drink, and transport cost very little in comparison to Western European countries such as Britain. Combined with job prospects, decent pay, and good weather, expats rate this as one of the happiest places to live.

Panama City Skyline

8. Panama — The country is a hive for service economy jobs, including finance and infrastructure. Pay goes a long way and the good weather does not hurt.

Vietnam has extended visa-free travel for Brits

7. Vietnam — The popular expat destination for Western Europeans scores highly on the happiest place to live scale.  You can live pretty decadently in Vietnam on a low wage (by Western standards). There is also incredible scenery, activities and places to explore.

Monkeys eat bananas at an ancient temple during the annual 'monkey buffet' in Lopburi province, north of Bangkok, Thailand

6. Thailand — Another favorite destination for the Western world is Thailand.  It ranks as one of the best places to live because of the low cost of living, ease of settling in, and the variety of activities and things to do.  Expats who live in Thailand are generally very happy.

Motorhome, RV, travelling near the snowcapped Mount Cook/Aoraki Mountain Range, South Island, New Zealand

5. New Zealand — The country may be out of the way but peacefulness, good healthcare, and good education all contribute to expats saying they are extremely happy there.

Looking across the vast Amazon rainforest, in Ecuador

4. Ecuador — The country fell 16 places in the quality of life index, but in terms of personal happiness, expats say it’s one of the best places to live in the world for a happy life. Cost of living is low and weather and activities are abundant.

Celebrating Mexico's Day of the Dead

3. Mexico — The country ranks number one in the ease of settling in index, as well as highly across the weather and friendliness sub-indexes.

An iconic natural bridge formed by the ocean eroding the rock at the shores of Malta - brought to you by

2. Malta — The country is a favourite destination for Europeans looking to relocate.  It  is ranked one of the best places to live thanks to the ease of settling in, low language barrier, low cost of living and enviable weather.  Interestingly, the survey shows that personal happiness is one of the best because 70% of expats in Malta surveyed are in a relationship, compared to the global average of 63%.

Costa Rica is LOADED with beautiful beaches

1. Costa Rica — Not only is Costa Rica ranked the happiest place to live on earth, it is also one of the top 5 “dream destinations” world-wide.  Expats in this survey indicated Costa Rica was the best place to live, all things considered.  General contentment and “happiness” is felt by people from all different walks of life — 19% are entrepreneurs or business owners, 20% have a part-time job, while 14% are retirees.


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