Expats Don't Want To Live In The US & UK Anymore

Few anticipated that the UK would vote to leave the UK. Even fewer expected that President Donald Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton in November’s US presidential election.

So unsurprisingly, members of the internationalist class of workers who populate urban centers like New York City and London – and who have the most to lose from nationalist economic and immigration policies - now perceive the US and Britain as less friendly to foreigners, not to mention less politically stable, according to a survey of 13,000 expatriates of 166 nationalities that was cited by Bloomberg.

The respondents said that quality of life in both countries is declining by other measures, including the affordability of child care and health care. However, we don’t think one can easily blame that on the election.

The UK ranks 54, down 21 places from last year’s survey, after its June 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Before the referendum, 77 percent of expats had a favorable opinion of the nation’s political stability. That’s down to 47 percent this year.  The survey was conducted in February and March, before the most recent British election. Just half of expats say the UK has a good attitude toward foreign residents, compared to 67 percent worldwide.

Expats in Britain have also soured on its economy. The weak pound and higher inflation put the UK 59th for personal finance. Almost two-thirds of its expats have an unfavorable opinion of its cost of living, with 69 percent unhappy with the affordability of housing. Three out of five expats also don’t appreciate the weather in the UK.

The US has seen a commensurate decline in public opinion. Just 36 percent of expats have a positive view of America’s political stability, down from 68 percent in last year’s survey. Overall, it ranks 43 of 65, down 17 places from last year.

Overall, the U.S. is ranked 43rd of 65 contenders, 17 places lower than last year. But its reputation was already falling before the election results came in. As recently as 2014’s survey, the US was No. 5. One bright spot is that 69 percent of expats have a favorable view of the American economy.

Some 72 percent of expats in the US say health care is unaffordable; the world’s largest economy ranks 50 by measures of health and well-being. Its transportation infrastructure was rated “very good” by just 15 percent of the expats, less than half of the global average. Meanwhile, the US ranks last for affordability of child care and 39 out of 45 countries ranked for education affordability.

Despite all the talk about President Donald Trump stoking resentment against immigrants, expats still view the US as a welcoming country. Though that perception is beginning to shift...

“Three years ago, 84 percent of expats rated the U.S. positively on “friendly attitude to foreign residents,” and just 5 percent negatively. By 2017, the negative ratings had tripled, and the positive ratings had dropped 16 points.”

Many smaller economies outranked larger developed countries. Ironically, the top-ranked country in 2017 was Bahrain. We wonder: Would Bahrain’s sizable population of Asian “foreign workers” feel the same?

“The top-ranked country in 2017 is Bahrain, given high marks by its expats as a place to work and raise a family and for making foreigners feel welcome. It vastly outranks Persian Gulf neighbors such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which ranked in the bottom 10 of the 65 countries in the survey.”

While the US and UK have both experienced a reputational hit, surprisingly it was Australia that saw the largest drop of any national present in the rankings, sliding from tenth most expat-friendly country to 34th. Meanwhile, Greece ranked dead last, despite its warm climate and beautiful beaches.

“Greece was at the very bottom of the list, weighed down by the country’s economic problems. Australia, which ranked in the top 10 last year, dropped more than any other country, to 34th place. Expats’ ratings of jobs, career prospects, work hours and work-life balance all dropped.”

In another twist, China ranked as one of the expats’ favorite places, despite the severe pollution and the quality and cost of health care and education. Two-thirds of respondents said they were happy with their careers, though the country ranked 55 out of 65 for overall quality of life. Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan, which topped last year's list, slipped to fourth place, while Singapore climbed into the top 10. Hong Kong languished at 39, up from 44 last year.

The survey was conducted by InterNations, a Munich-based network of 2.8 million expats. The survey includes interviews with executives, skilled workers, students and retirees who live outside the country where they grew up. There are about 50 million expats worldwide, according to market research by Finaccord, and the number is expected to hit 60 million over the next five years.



Dead Canary Cluster_Frak Fri, 09/08/2017 - 01:12 Permalink

I hear the House is looking to replace Paul Ryan as speaker of the house. Neut Gingrich and Rick Santorum are being considered. Apparently, according to the Constitution, you don't have to be a member of the House to be speaker.COOL!"And now, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the new Speaker of the House of Representatives: Taylor Swift!"

In reply to by Cluster_Frak

Michael Musashi Cluster_Frak Fri, 09/08/2017 - 01:43 Permalink

I lived as an expat for +20 years and I'm excited to be back in the USA. Lists like this are usually done by rookies who are in 1 - 3 years of their starry-eyed bewilderment.Let's break this down:Leisure options: USA by far. There is so much leisure diversity here it's incredible. How about a spiritual hike in Sedona, or if that's not your thing what about a coffee and a independent book store in Seattle? Spain is great, but very little in diversity of activities--unless you think food and wine is all that life has to offer.Travel and Transport: Singapore? LOL! You mean at the shopping mall? Or their fancy airport? Big deal! How about a motorcycle ride from San Diego to Alaska?Health and well being: Taiwan? I wonder if the factory workers there you're paid to manage (abuse) feel the same?Safety and security: You cannot compare apples to bananas. Switzerland is the size of Montana, and I'll bet Montana is safer.Friendly attitude: Ever been to Wisconsin?Ease of making friends: My foreign born wife has made more friends in 1 year here than I have in a lifetime. It's an advantage of being a foreigner in any country, trust me.Work-life balance: Personally, I like the Asian style of "work hard, play hard" instead of the Euro style of "Work less, complain more."Job security: Why is an expat worried about job security? You lose your job, you lose your visa in most countries--except for the USA where you can run across a border and take some poor blue collar gringo's job or undercut their wages.Cost of Living: Vietnam? Really? Most expats live in or around District 1 which is friggen expensive! I'd rather go to Costco here and buy a case of good craft beer for the same price of buying a case of formaldehyde piss beer in Vietnam. And the hookers are extremely expensive in Vietnam compared to other parts of Asia so that ruins the expat experience for 98% of expats (even the married guys).  

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OverTheHedge Michael Musashi Fri, 09/08/2017 - 02:16 Permalink

I am delighted to see that Greece is on the bottom of the list. Don't come to Greece, you'd hate it. The weather is crap, the people are deeply unfriendly, the bikini clad babes on the beach are all furry, there is no work and the place is filthy. Go somewhere else, a very, very long way away from me. Really. Bahrain sounds lovely. Spain is much nicer. Taiwan for the win. Just, whatever you do, don't come to Greece!( You may notice that I am not too keen on sharing)

In reply to by Michael Musashi

wisehiney Michael Musashi Fri, 09/08/2017 - 02:33 Permalink

I would not trade two alps for the American Rockies.And have you ever seen our Thoroughbreds race?Thundering across your host pasture.Or tasted the magnificient sausage derived from a fine English Black and White high bred hog?With the eggs of one hundred generation bloodline chickens?Not too mention taken for granted blackberries and peaches.Table full every day.Can make you forget how special a rock your world tomato is.And baby butterbeans cooked with young silver queen corn kernals shaved off the cobb.Jaysus.Or tried the finest world renowned surf fishing from Cape Point?Or stripers chunked up anytime.Or perfect four pound blue channel cats.Grilled or fried with your local gristmill's hot breader mix.So good with a beer.Country folks eat best and plenty and easy.Right about now.I'd like to teach the world to eat in perfect harmony.

In reply to by Michael Musashi

Expat Michael Musashi Fri, 09/08/2017 - 06:43 Permalink

Leisure options: Okay, you say the US has a billion things to do but that is apparently because it is so huge.  But in later sections you moan that the article is comparing countries of very different sizes (you compare Montana to Switzerland).  Spain has many more things to do than eating or drinking.  I guess you believe there are no roads or motorcycles in Spain or anywhere else. Travel and Transport: What do shopping malls in Singapore have to do with travel or transport?  "Fancy airport"?  I can hear the sneer in your voice.  I lived in Singapore for nine years.  I would rather be a homeless person living at Changi than an occasional traveler through most US airports.  Taxis in Singapore are cheap and plentiful.  The buses and metro work very well.  No, you can't take long motorcyle rides in Singapore since it's a tiny island.  So fucking what?Health and Well-Being:  I almost hope you get very sick with some sort of long-term illness so I can watch you lose everything you have as you struggle to pay the bills.  The US healthcare system sucks.  Yep. It sucks.  It is the most expensive in the world with some of the worst results of any industrialized country (and some developing countries).  99% of the world can't understand why Americans think this is a great arrangement.  Many people I know are worried about traveling to the US because they fear getting hurt or sick and ending up losing several hundred thousand dollars in medical bills.Safety and security:  The murder rate in Montana is 3.5 per 1000.  In Switzerland it's 1.2 per thousand.  So fuck you on that score.  I doubt you have been to Switzerland or could even find it on a map.  Montana is 147,000 squre miles.  Do you have any fucking clue what the size of Switzerland is?  No, you don't because you are just another ignorant American.  It's about 16,000 square miles.  Montana's population is 1 million while Switzerlands's is 8.4 million.  No, you don't have a fucking clue about the rest of the world, do you?Work-life balance: Asian style of "work hard, work harder" is more like it.  Of course, wages are low and there is not the same safety nets there as in Europe. Europeans are more productive than Americans and work about the same hours.  So your ignorant arrogance about "lazy" Europeans is just made-up American bullshit, pure propaganda.  You want great work-life balance?  Move to Australia or New Zealand...or South Africa.Friendly:  Wisconsin?  Really?  so what?  Based on your cost of living comments, it sounds like your wife was picked up in a Soi Cowboy bar.  I BET she's popular with your neighbors...the guys must be stopping by all the time while you're at work to make sure she is integrating well.Job security: There are many countries where expats are protected by the local laws like locals.  In the US an expat can be fired out of hand and have to leave immediately since he loses his visa status.  This cannot happen in most EU countries or even a place like Singapore which is so business friendly. Cost of living:  It's nice to see that you rate cost of living based on how much you have to pay for hookers.  I think that pretty much says it all about you.  Gosh, are the underage boys cheaper in Uganda than they are in Vietnam?  do tell.So, you are really just an ignorant American who probably spent his leisure time drinking Bud and watching the NFL on cable while dissing the locals with your equally ignorant band of fellow travelers.

In reply to by Michael Musashi

Michael Musashi Expat Fri, 09/08/2017 - 14:48 Permalink

LOL! You are the perfect example of a starry-eyed bewildered ingrate expat. I was like you too, then I grew up and snapped out of it.I won't dissect your drivel point-by-point, I've got better things to do, but I will point out the most ridiculous parts.Leisure - Tiny Maryland has more to it than Spain--even if you include shithole Baltimore. The Spanish, and silly ingrate Americans like Anthony Bourdain, pretend places like Spain are "what truly living is all about" but processed meats, wine, and mundane conversations every day sounds more like dying to me.Singapore is a consumer hellhole. Yes, the food is great, but beyond that it's a living hell, especially for average Singaporeans. As for if you lose your job, good luck with that. You better find a new one fast, or set up your own company for thousands of dollars to get a visa, because any delay and your savings will be eaten away each day--unless you want to live off street hawkers and wind up obese or with some other illness.Heath care - There are some great disruptions happening here like "Health Sharing" platforms that are growing in popularity. Your views are naive and contrived by media hype.Seems I really hit a nerve with you. You really personally attacked me. You feeling OK, internet tough guy? Feeling bad about leaving the greatest country in the world? LOL! Funny, guys like you are such hypocrites and so easy to figure out. Grow up, wash your mouth out with soap, and go ask your boyfriend why you're such a douchebag.     

In reply to by Expat

Expat Michael Musashi Sat, 09/09/2017 - 04:43 Permalink

You hit a nerve because I have little patience for people who are so obviously full of shit.  You make stuff up to attempt to prove your point either because your fundamentally ignorant and stupid or you are too lazy to do basic research.Spain vs Maryland?  Seriously?  This is another of your stunning international analogies?  You sure you want to try this again?  May I remind you that you are too fucking stupid to know that Montana is ten timest the size of Switzerland with one-eight the population.  Now you want to compare leisure activities in Marlyand vs Spain.   Oh, sorry, apparently there are no leisure activities in Spain other than eating bologna and talked about the weather.  I'll give you $10000 if you can draw a map of Europe and place Spain on it. Singapore might be a consumer hell-hole (whatever that means) but that has little to do with the topic at hand which was transport and travel.  Have you lived in Singapore?  Do you know any locals?  I did and do.  There are many opportunities. The younger generations are sharing in the development, though their parents might not.  Singaporeans are far less obese than Americans.  As for hawker food, it is not necessarily diet food, but it's delicious.Healthcare: I don't really care about how much AMerican is improving with "Health Sharing".  America has the worst healthcare among the developed countries while spending the most money per capita (nearly twice as much as the next countries).  Media hype?  Naive?  Prove your point.  Show me where the US ranks in healthcare.  Or do you measure healthcre by how well your healthcare investment portfolio is doing?  I am not sure what your point is other than whimpering and whining.  Do you?Greatest country on earth?  LOL. Kindly point out a list of things which demonstrate America's greatness. Tell your wife that I still have fond memories of that evening I picked her up in Bangkok.  What a mouth!

In reply to by Michael Musashi

ThankUGartman Fri, 09/08/2017 - 01:17 Permalink

So much to do-so little time and money to do it. Good Ol USA where you have to work 10 hours day to make ends meet. Urban areas at least...Is it just me or are the days getting shorter? I could afford a house if my govt only let me keep more of my tax money I pay. $2500 mo they take in taxes and there's no write off for child support or college tuition if you're not the custodial parent. Rent goes up, cost of living in general goes up, union dues go up, I make more on the top line but take home the same for last 5 years wth!

DEMIZEN Ajax-1 Fri, 09/08/2017 - 01:54 Permalink

that's what I thought. I spent about two years in the area and from what I understand the area is run by soft winged warlords that openly buy votes in the local election. a white man can't grow if not married to a daughter of one of the local chiefs. if you expand too fast they won't kill you but drain your blood slowly and keep mooching until you give up.kinda like US but off the books.

In reply to by Ajax-1

DEMIZEN Vigilante Fri, 09/08/2017 - 01:56 Permalink

like ajax here mentioned. I have friends in SE who invested in the area and they complain a lot. they say they have to keep a number of people on "pay list" to prevent all kinds of trouble all previous plans and projected returns are off.   sporadic fires at the restaurants, farms, boat yards. all kinds of inspections, call centers and software bureaus trouble accessing local labor pools etc.

In reply to by Vigilante

Overdrawn Fri, 09/08/2017 - 01:23 Permalink

I would say this is a good thing, hopfully the trend will continue. There is a limit to tolerance, the limit was passed a long time ago in the US and UK.