A new global expat study released today reveals that Mexico is the most welcoming country in the world for expats. Mexico also ranks fourth globally out of 64 countries as the most desired destination for expats.
The Expat Insider 2019 Survey, conducted annually by InterNations, places Mexico fourth overall this year out of the 64 countries with the most expat respondents in the study. Since the survey began in 2014, Mexico has always ranked in the top four, reaching a high of second place in 2015. Mexico came in first this year when it comes to the ease of settling in to the country as an expat, illustrating once again why Mexico is the most welcoming country in the world for expats.
“Mexico has never dropped lower than second place in the Ease of Settling In Index,” said Kathrin Chudoba, Head of Content & Communications and Director of Studies for InterNations, “meaning it got particularly high rankings for Finding Friends, Feeling at Home and the Friendliness subcategories. One of the really outstanding results is that 92 percent of respondents said that Mexicans are very friendly, and normally only 68 percent of respondents say that about the population in their host country, so that’s a big difference. Also, they find it really easy to make friends, so 80 percent agree that it’s really easy to find local friends in Mexico. The global average for that is only 42 percent.”
Over 20,000 expats provided information on various aspects of expat life and rated up to 48 different aspects of life abroad. Chudoba said the rating process emphasized their personal satisfaction with these aspects and considered both emotional topics as well as more factual aspects with equal weight. Ratings for individual factors were organized by 17 subcategories and their mean values were used to create six indices: Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Family Life, Personal Finance and Cost of Living. She said that all indices were further averaged with expats’ general satisfaction with their life in order to rank 64 expat destinations around the world. Although expats in 187 countries or territories participated in the survey, only 64 countries had more than 75 respondents, the minimum sample size required to be included.
Mexico was topped this year in the overall rankings by Taiwan, Vietnam and Portugal. Chudoba said that #1 Taiwan stands out for its great quality of life and is rated best in the world for affordability of healthcare. Runner-up Vietnam scored well with expats who are interested in their career prospects and are happy with their personal finances. Number three Portugal is first worldwide when it comes to quality of life and is one of the best for leisure options. Rounding out the top 10 best places for expats are: Spain, Singapore, Bahrain, Ecuador, Malaysia and Czechia (the Czech Republic).
On the other hand, expats in Kuwait are not that happy. Kuwait has ranked last in the study each year, with the exception of 2017 when it finished second to last. Finishing just above Kuwait at the bottom of the expat satisfaction barrel this year were Italy, Nigeria, Brazil, Turkey, India, the United Kingdom, Greece, Russia and South Korea.
Overall expat satisfaction with Mexico, however, was excellent. Nearly nine-out-of-10 expat respondents in Mexico were satisfied with their lives, compared with just three-quarters globally. And as further proof of the friendliness of Mexico, 80 percent of expats in the country said that making local friends was easy. Only 42 percent of expats in other countries could make the same claim.
Besides its #1 ranking on the Ease of Settling In Index, the country also did well on several other indices. It ranked fourth globally in both Personal Finance and Cost of Living.
“Mexico also does well on the Personal Finance Index,” Chudoba said. “So, 78 percent of Mexico’s expat respondents said they are satisfied with their financial situation and that’s compared to 64 percent globally. The Personal Finance Index measures how comfortable expats living in Mexico are with their overall financial situation. We also include a question that asks respondents if they feel their income is sufficient to cover all the costs of daily life.”
Cost of Living is a separate index, and Mexico also shines there, ranking fourth globally.
“Mexico has never really been below the top 10 rank on this index since the beginning of the survey,” said Chudoba. “Last year it was ranked in second place, but the first two years of the survey it was in seventh place. Only Bulgaria, Vietnam and Ecuador were less costly places to live for expats this year.”
Mexico also finished in the top 20 countries on both the Family Life Index and Working Abroad.
Comprised of six subcategories – Family Well Being, Availability of Child Care, Costs of Childcare & Education, Quality of Education, Childcare Options and Options for Children’s Education – Mexico’s Family Life Index ranked 16th. Interestingly, this index measured only 36 countries, not all 64.
Mexico did well, also, on the Working Abroad Index, ranking 20th. Expats were queried on three subcategories: Career Prospects & Satisfaction, Economy & Job Security and Work & Leisure.
But when it comes to the Quality of Life index, Mexico was in the middle of the pack, ranking 30th. Although it did very well in areas like Leisure Options and Personal Happiness, it was dragged down by its Safety and Security rank, fifty-fourth out of the 64 countries measured.
“Yes, the Safety and Security measure is an issue and that is part of the Qualify of Life Index,” Chudoba said. “That’s also one of the main reasons why Mexico is only in 30th place on the Quality of Life Index.”
Nearly three-out-of-10 expats in Mexico said they were concerned with their personal safety. Chudoba also said 36 percent of respondents are worried about their children’s safety, which is four times the global average.
“There is also a Wellbeing subcategory that helps form the Quality of Life Index and the results there are not so good either,” she said. “It includes factors like affordable healthcare, quality of medical care and environmental quality. Mexico ranks 45th, which is not that great.”
Despite safety and security issues, there is still much to love here, and expats in Mexico seem to reflect that in this survey. Mexico is the most welcoming country in the world for expats, but with more help from the Mexican government it could be the best country in the world for both expats and Mexico’s people.