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Living Abroad

The Best & Worst Destinations for Expats in 2022

Mexico city

View of Mexico City.

Sponsored Content by InterNations

Mexico, Indonesia, and Taiwan are the best places to live abroad in, according to findings in the Expat Insider survey.

Global expat community InterNations conducts one of the biggest annual surveys on life abroad, Expat Insider. In 2022, close to 12,000 expats representing 177 nationalities took part. Covering key areas such as working abroad, the ease of settling in, quality of life, personal finances, and expat essentials, the findings are a must-read for anyone interested in living abroad.

The Winners

Mexico was rated the best country for expats in 2022. Expats particularly appreciate their Personal Finances (2nd) and the Ease of Settling In (1st). “Mexicans are very friendly people and eager to help when you have a problem,” states an expat from Armenia. In fact, three-quarters of respondents (75%) agree that it easy to make friends, compared to just 42% of expats worldwide.

The country also only narrowly misses out on a top 10 spot in the Expat Essentials Index (11th). While the local bureaucracy can be a struggle (53% negative ratings vs. 39% globally) and administrative services are not readily available online (33% unhappy vs. 21% globally), expats at least find it easy to get a visa in order to move to Mexico (64% vs. 56% globally).

The country performs worst, but still well, in the Working Abroad (17th) and Quality of Life (24th) Indices. Expats appreciate, for example, the culture and nightlife (84% happy vs. 67% globally) and the local food and dining options (92% vs. 77% globally). However, safety remains an issue: 20% feel unsafe (vs. 9% globally), and Mexico only ranks 49th out of 52 places for this factor.

Still, 91% of expats are generally happy with their life in Mexico.

In second place, Indonesia (2nd) finds its biggest strengths in the Ease of Settling In (2nd) and Personal Finance (3rd) Indices. Expats are happy with the general cost of living (73% vs. 45% globally) and agree that their disposable household income is more than enough to lead a comfortable life (64% vs. 45% globally). Housing in Indonesia is also easy to afford (74% vs. 39% globally) and to find (84% vs. 54% globally), though the country performs less well when it comes to Admin Topics (30th), including the local bureaucracy (57% unhappy vs. 39% globally).

Indonesia’s worst results are found in the Quality of Life Index (41st). While Indonesia has a lot of Leisure Options (12th), these can’t make up for its bad results in regard to Health & Well-Being (48th) as well as Environment & Climate (42nd). A third of respondents (33%) is, for example, unhappy with the air quality (vs. 19% globally).

Taiwan (3rd) is no stranger among the best expat destinations. In 2022, it receives its best results in the Quality of Life Index (2nd), where it is only beaten by Spain. Taiwan ranks first in the Health & Well-Being Subcategory and even first for all the contributing factors. Expats find, for example, healthcare both affordable (100% vs. 61% globally) and widely available (98% vs. 73% globally). Further highlights about life in Taiwan include Travel & Transit (7th) and Leisure Options (16th).

Expats also give Taiwan good grades in the Ease of Settling In (6th) and Personal Finance (8th) Indices. In fact, over three-quarters (78%) say they feel welcome there (vs. 66% globally), and another 70% are satisfied with their financial situation (vs. 60% globally). However, while the vast majority (85%) feels paid fairly for their work (vs. 62% globally), expats attest to a local business culture that lacks creativity (41% unhappy vs. 26% globally), flexibility (41% unhappy vs. 19% globally), as well as flat hierarchies (46% unhappy vs. 28% globally).

The Worst-Ranked Destinations

Ranking last overall, Kuwait finds itself in the bottom 10 of each index and even ranks last in the Quality of Life and Ease of Settling In Indices (52nd out of 52, respectively). Expats are unhappy with their social life (50% vs. 26% globally) and perceive the local residents as unfriendly (44% vs. 17% globally). Things do not look much better when it comes to the Working Abroad Index (51st). Close to two in four expats are unhappy with their work-life balance (37% vs. 19% globally) and career opportunities (39% vs. 22% globally).

Kuwait performs best in the Personal Finance Index (45th): an above-average share of expats feel that their disposable household income is enough or more than enough to lead a comfortable life (76% vs. 72% globally). However, their opinions on the underlying factors of the Expat Essentials Index are less positive, bringing it to a 49th place out of 52 destinations.

While expats love the recreational sports opportunities (84% vs. 75% globally) and natural environment (95% vs. 83% globally) in New Zealand, the island state cannot escape the bottom 3 overall (51st). In large part, this is due to its abysmal performance in the Personal Finance Index (52nd): three-quarters of expats (75%) rate the local cost of living negatively (vs. 35% globally)! The country also only sees mediocre results in the Working Abroad (42nd), Expat Essentials (39th), and Quality of Life (39th) Indices.

Similar to New Zealand, Hong Kong also owes its rank in the bottom 3 (50th) in large part to expats’ dissatisfaction with their Personal Finances (44th). Close to double the global average giving the local cost of living a negative rating (68% vs. 35% globally). And while they are rather happy with the affordability of public transportation (93% satisfied vs. 70% globally), the same cannot be said for housing costs (89% unhappy vs. 43% globally).

Hong Kong narrowly escapes a spot in the bottom 10 in the Working Abroad Index (41st) despite placing 50th for working hours — expats report working an average of 44.4 hours per week (vs. 40.2 hours globally). Results in the Quality of Life (40th), Expat Essentials (35th), and Ease of Settling In (33rd) Indices are somewhat better but still below average.

Find out more in the complete Expat Insider 2022 report.

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The Problem With Always Blaming Climate Change For Natural Disasters

Climate change is real, but a closer look at the science shows there are many factors that contribute to weather-related disasters. It is important to raise awareness about the long-term impact of global warming, but there's a risk in overstating its role in the latest floods or fires.

People on foot, on bikes, motorcycles, scooters and cars navigate through a flooded street during the day time.

Karachi - People wade through flood water after heavy rain in a southern Pakistani city

Xinhua / ZUMA
Axel Bojanowski


BERLIN — In September, thousands of people lost their lives when dams collapsed during flooding in Libya. Engineers had warned that the dams were structurally unsound.

Two years ago, dozens died in floods in western Germany, a region that had experienced a number of similar floods in earlier centuries, where thousands of houses had been built on the natural floodplain.

Last year saw more than 1,000 people lose their lives during monsoon floods in Pakistan. Studies showed that the impact of flooding in the region was exacerbated by the proximity of human settlements, the outdated river management system, high poverty rates and political instability in Pakistan.

There are many factors that contribute to weather-related disasters, but one dominates the headlines: climate change. That is because of so-called attribution studies, which are published very quickly after these disasters to highlight how human-caused climate change contributes to extreme weather events. After the flooding in Libya, German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described climate change as a “serial offender," while the Tageszeitung wrote that “the climate crisis has exacerbated the extreme rainfall."

The World Weather Attribution initiative (WWA) has once again achieved its aim of using “real-time analysis” to draw attention to the issue: on its website, the institute says its goal is to “analyse and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme weather events." Frederike Otto, who works on attribution studies for the WWA, says these reports help to underscore the urgent need for climate action. They transform climate change from an “abstract threat into a concrete one."

In the immediate aftermath of a weather-related disaster, teams of researchers rush to put together attribution studies – “so that they are ready within the same news cycle," as the New York Times reported. However, these attribution studies do not meet normal scientific standards, as they are published without going through the peer-review process that would be undertaken before publication in a specialist scientific journal. And that creates problems.

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