The findings of HSBC Expat Explorer survey show that Thailand is the number one expat destination when compared globally across economic and lifestyle factors, this for the second time since the survey started four years ago.

Surprisingly, some countries which have experienced violent political events in the past 12 months still rank in the top ten in terms of experience, with Egypt taking the second place, followed by Saudi Arabia.

The full 2011 Expat Explorer survey results are coming in November, but we can reveal a few initial findings from the largest global expat survey of its kind in the world. This is the fourth year of the survey and despite some significant global events in the past year – from economic turmoil to widespread political and social unrest – 3,385 expats from over 100 countries have taken part.

Bangkok King of Thailand bank building
This year's number one country is Thailand when compared globally across economic and lifestyle factors

Top three countries

This year’s number one country is Thailand when compared globally across economic and lifestyle factors, with Egypt and Saudi Arabia ranking second and third.

Seven new countries added

Whilst Bermuda did not make it into this year’s survey, 7 new countries have: Turkey, New Zealand, Brazil, Italy, Egypt, Vietnam & Japan, meaning that this year’s survey now covers 31 countries around the world.

The full results of the 2011 survey will be released in late November and will look at some new expat trends such as:

  • Despite the economic uncertainty in 2010, expats remain fairly optimistic about the economic outlook in the country where they live. Despite this optimism only 64% of expats intend to stay in their current country compared to 87% in 2010.
  • The economic benefit of becoming an expat: in 2011 63% of expats report having more disposable income since relocating compared to 56% in 2010.
  • Language barriers are becoming less problematic for expats with only 27% reporting this as an issue compared to 30% in 2010.
  • In 2011 expats are less concerned about feeling lonely and missing their friends and family with only 31% reporting this in 2011, compared to 34% in 2010.

Lisa Wood, head of marketing at HSBC Bank International, said:

“For those looking for the best overall expat experience, our findings this year show Thailand as the top expat destination, being ranked as number one by our expats for ease of organising healthcare, finding accommodation and the work environment. Last year this destination was ranked highly as a retirement hotspot so it’s great to see the country develop in terms of its economic appeal.

“The Expat Explorer survey is not only an interesting resource for existing and future expats, but also acts as an important tool for our business. It’s something we’re extremely proud of and provides us with the knowledge and expertise to tailor our products and services more effectively to our customers’ needs.”



Saudi Arabia3
Hong Kong9
United States11
United Arab Emirates12
South Africa14
New Zealand26
United Kingdom27

2011 headline survey results based on Economics & Experience data

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