Good country to move to from USA? take Your pick

Graphic. A man and a woman with packed bags in front of a world map: How to pick a good country to move toPin

to move, or not to move

Have you thought about packing your bags and moving to another country to start a new life abroad? a US magazine asked its readers recently. If so, what would be a good place to move to? Read on for some answers…

“20 Best Countries to Move to from USA,” proclaimed a headline over a recent article.  
If you have a kind of deja vu feeling that you’ve come across something similar lately, you’re not mistaken. Indeed, over the past year or so there has been a spate of Top-this or Best-that type of compilations revolving around an issue that appears to generate increasing interest in the United States – looking beyond the border to find a good place to move to.

Wanted: A good country to move to

Highlighting this trend, ScrippsNews reported that for a growing number of Americans, having access to options abroad has never been more important.
“From second passports to residency permits, more Americans are looking to secure documents that enable them to live outside of the U.S.,” ScrippsNews wrote, noting that when to comes to building your life, location matters.

It added that while the motivation varies from person to person, experts say a lot of folks are looking for a plan B in response to politics, safety concerns, and the overall cost of living.

In its January 2024 piece, The Hill arrived at similar conclusions when it asked its readers if they had ever thought about packing their bags and moving to another country to start a new life abroad. “If so,” it assured them, “you’re not alone.”
As evidence, The Hill pointed to a recent survey conducted by language tutoring company Preply, which had found that more than 37% of its respondents aged 18 to 26 wanted to live abroad indefinitely.
Explaining their reasons, many participants (1 in 4) stressed the importance of access to such programs as universal healthcare. Other reasons cited in the Preply survey included the high cost of living in the US, the current political climate, and the benefits of new cultural experiences.
Citing the same poll, Insider Monkey, an investment research firm specializing in tracking the movement of corporate insiders and hedge funds, underscored that 59% of respondents mentioned that the prevalence of gun violence in the US influenced their decision to emigrate.

The publication pointed out that most American expatriates gravitated toward developed nations, where they can enjoy comfortable living standards, various amenities, reasonable costs of living, tax advantages, and lucrative job prospects.
“Once known as the land of immigrants,” Insider Monkey noted, “the United States may now be experiencing a shift toward becoming a land of emigrants.” It cited the Association of Americans Resident Overseas (AARO), which estimates that around 5.4 million Americans lived outside the country in 2023.

Madrid’s Almudena Cathedral is among many treasures that make Spain a good country to move to for culture loversPin

Spain: A good place to move to from USA

Is Spain a good country to move to if you’re an American?
It is certainly a solid choice, judging by the latest analysis published on the Insider Monkey website, “20 Best Countries to Move to from USA.”
In fact, Insider Monkey included Spain among its “Top 5” choices of a good place to move to.
In its analysis, which highlighted cost-of-living calculations, Mexico, Croatia, and Portugal earned the top three spots. Based on the site’s Cost of Living Index, Mexico led with the score of 43.8, followed by Portugal’s 46.6 and Croatia’s 46.9. Spain was in fourth place (48.4), with Lithuania rounding off the top five.    
Spain, Insider Monkey noted, has become a prominent choice for immigrants looking to set down roots thanks to its high standard of living and allure for expats, whether for retirement or work. Its attractions, the website said, become even more appealing when considering the low cost of living.
“For Americans relocating to Spain, the inexpensive monthly maintenance for a single person at $762 (excluding rent) would be highly lucrative,” Insider Monkey wrote.  It added that the country offers various immigration pathways, including the possibility of gaining residency through investment being one of the feasible options.
To come up with its recommendations as to what would be a good country to move to from the USA, the company, in part, relied on the cost-of-living data for 2024 available on Numbeo, ranking the countries in descending order. It also analyzed information from a series of previously published articles on the subject.

Feedback from those who took the plunge
Objective statistical data is vital, of course, but when gauging how welcoming this or that country is to its new residents the addition of a more subjective element – opinions — may offer valuable insights.
This was exactly the approach taken by InterNations, an organization representing the world’s largest expat community. As part of its annual evaluation project, it surveyed the experiences of those who had already made the move – the expatriates themselves.
The resulting report, the “Best & Worst Places for Expats,” covered 53 nations, distilling respondents’ views about five key areas of their experience. Those ranged from the ease of settling in and getting started abroad to personal finances, work, and the quality of life.  

So, what about the best? Well, the “Top 10 Expat Destinations” selected by the respondents echoed the conclusions of the Insider Monkey analysis: Mexico was their #1 choice. A sizeable majority rated the country as being very friendly to expats and, overall, a good country to move to.

Spain, meanwhile, won the second place. Following it on the Top-10 list were Panama, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Costa Rica, Philippines, Bahrain, and Portugal. 
And what about the “worst”?  Well, “The Bottom 10 Expat Destinations” is a fascinating list that contains several choices that may come as a bit of a surprise.

At #52, for instance, Norway was rated as being “Unfriendly & Expensive,” while Turkey, at #51was said to have “Low Job Satisfaction.”  Japan, New Zealand, Malta, Italy, South Africa, Germany, and South Korea did slightly better, placing from #44 to #50.

Meanwhile, Kuwait ended up at the very bottom, continuing a 10-year trend of “poor performance,” according to InterNations. It scored poorly on some of the basic features that make a destination a good country to move to, earning bottom rankings for Ease of Settling, Local Friendliness and Culture & Welcome.

Happy in #2 Spain’
“Expats Feel at Home & Happy in #2 Spain,” declared InterNation.  It noted that since the first Expat Insider survey in 2014, Spain has always ranked in the top 10 of the Quality of Life Index. Also, the country has been consistently featured among the best worldwide for its Leisure Options, placing 1st again in 2023. (That finding is sure to come as no surprise for the residents of Benalmadena, who enjoy high quality of lifestyle and leisure).
“The majority of expats (88%) is happy with the culture and nightlife in Spain, compared to 68% globally,” noted the organization. Additionally, over nine in ten (91%) are happy with their opportunities for recreational sports (vs. 75% globally). It added that Spain’s climate and weather (3rd) makes it easier for expats to get out and enjoy these activities.
If there was a weakness in Spain’s rankings for 2023, it had to do with one category – improved career prospects. Only about half of the polled felt that the move to Spain had improved their career prospects (49% vs. 59% globally).  As a result, in the Working Abroad Index Spain was ranked 34th.
However, as InterNation pointed out, that broad category also included a positive dimension: Spain ranked 10th in the Work & Leisure Subcategory, largely due to expats’ satisfaction with their work-life balance (73% happy vs. 63% globally).
In another subcategory, Work Culture & Satisfaction, Spain placed 31st. But to put it in context, it was still ahead of such countries as Portugal (34th), France (36th), Austria (39th), Malta (41st), Greece (42nd), Thailand (46th), and Italy (49th).  
The other countries included in the InterNations Top 10 Destinations list were Panama, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Costa Rica, Philippines, Bahrain, and Portugal. 
To sum it up in response to an earlier question: if so many expats “feel at home and happy in #2 Spain,” it may well be worth considering as a good country to move to.

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