USA 'most liveable' for Brit expats

Why is the USA deemed most liveable for UK expats? What other countries make the "liveability" list?

Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline
The USA is adjudged the most 'liveable' place for British expats in a new ranking of the ten most popular destinations for migrating Britons.The new 'Expat Index', based on research by international luggage delivery service Send My Bag, placed France in the last spot in the global top 10.

15 categories in the Expat Index

Fifteen categories were assessed for the index including cost of living, per capita GDP, happiness, average flight time to the UK, unemployment rate, average salaries, housing costs, weather, crime, pollution, difficulty of language and - essentially, perhaps - the cost of beer.The research was based on the ten most popular destinations among UK expats; Australia, USA, Canada, Spain, Ireland, New Zealand, France, South Africa, Germany and Italy.The US came top with a score of 9.42 out of a possible maximum of 15, followed by Canada and Spain. France managed only 6.76 out of 15.

International job prospects index

In the all-important category of job prospects, the index - based on data compiled before the Covid-19 pandemic struck - found that Germany offered the most opportunities, although Britons' linguistic limitations was considered a barrier.The USA offered the most lucrative job opportunities with a purchasing power parity (PPP) of $63,093, ahead of Australia in second place with a PPP of $53,349.South Africa had the poorest job prospects with unemployment at 27.32% before the pandemic and with the lowest PPP of $13,840. Spain had the second worst unemployment rate and a PPP of $38,761.

Rentiing and buying a house abroad

On the other hand, South Africa proved to be the cheapest option for both renters and buyers, with house prices on average costing £676.41 per square metre, followed by Spain where prices averaged £2322.41 per square metre. Rents in South Africa were found to be 49% less than in the UK.By comparison, the cost of buying a property was deemed to be highest in France where prices averaged £5128.31 per square metre. Ireland was rated the most expensive country for rent - some 48% higher than the UK average.

International cost of living ranked

Overall, the cost of living was found to be cheapest in South Africa - some 43% lower than the UK across a range of common products and services. The cost of living in Spain, in second place, was 17% lower than in the UK.On the other hand, Ireland ranked as the most expensive expat destination at 17% higher than the UK rate, followed by France (15%) and Australia (14%).Most importantly, perhaps, expats can find the cheapest pint in South Africa for £1.41 and in Spain for £2.23.

"Renewed hope that Brits may once again be able to move abroad"

Adam Ewart, CEO and founder of Send My Bag, said, “Since the government announced air bridges allowing unfettered travel to several popular European destinations, consumers have understandably been eager to start traveling again and holiday bookings abroad are on the rise. It seems some normality is resuming in air travel and there is renewed hope that Brits may once again be able to move abroad, joining the five million current UK expats worldwide.“This inaugural ‘Expat Index’ aims to help people considering relocating or considering a holiday home, by pitting the top ten most popular global destinations against each other for the first time. The fifteen decisive categories take out some of the subjectivity from the decision, but there are options to suit everyone’s priorities.”Liveability’ rankings:
  1. USA 9.42
  2. Canada 9.27
  3. Spain 9.02
  4. Germany 8.76
  5. Ireland 8.64
  6. Australia 8.31
  7. New Zealand 7.53
  8. South Africa 7.41
  9. Italy 7.3
  10. France 6.76

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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