The Global Expat Index

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Moving abroad and uprooting your family and career to another country is never easy, but it can also be extremely rewarding.

Relocating in a new country can open your eyes to a new way of living, introduce you to new friends and help improve your career and quality of life too.

There’s a lot to take into account when choosing where to move to, from your career to your family and, of course, quality of life itself.

We’ve ranked the 34 OECD countries on all of the above and more, to try and determine the best places to live as an expat in 2019.

Data Table Key
Career Prospects Average Income (USD) Employment Rate (%)
Cost of Living Cost of Living Index City Centre Apartment Cost per Square Metre (USD)
Quality of Life Life Expectancy (years) Health Expenditure as a % of GDP Safety Score (/5)
Lifestyle Happiness Score (/10) Migrant Acceptance (/10) Expat Population (%) Cost of One Month Private Childcare (USD)

The Rankings...

Total score (/100)


We ranked 34 OECD countries (Turkey and Luxembourg were omitted due to a lack of data) on the following eleven factors, giving a normalised score out of ten for each factor, before combining these for an overall average score.

Average Income (USD)

Average annual wages for full-time employees according to OECD and converted from US$ PPP. Full methodology available at OECD.Stat.

Employment Rate (%)

According to Trading Economics.

Cost of Living Index

According to Average cost of living relative to a base of 100 for the USA (e.g. a country with a score of 80 would be 20% cheaper than the USA).

City Centre Apartment Cost per Square Metre (USD)

According to Numbeo.

Life Expectancy (years)

Life expectancy at birth according to the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook.

Health Expenditure as a % of GDP

Expressed as a percentage of the country’s GDP, according to OECD.Stat.

Safety Score (/5)

Score on the Global Peace Index 2018 (note that a lower score is better).

Happiness Score (/10)

Score on the 2019 World Happiness Report.

Migrant Acceptance (/10)

Score on Gallup’s Migrant Acceptance Index. (Note that figures for the USA and Canada were taken from a more recent poll).

Expat Population (%)

% of foreign-born population according to the UN’s Internal Migration Report 2017.

Cost of One Month Private Childcare (USD)

The monthly cost of full day, private preschool (or kindergarten) for one child, according to Numbeo.