The Cheapest countries for expats

2016-03-23 21:00 - Louzel Lombard
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Cape Town - South Africans looking for greener pastures will have to endure living in Ecuador, Poland or the Czech Republic if they're after the cheapest destinations for living abroad. 

This is according to new research done by expat experts InterNations, that asked more than 14 000 expats representing 170 nationalities from almost 200 countries to rate the cost of living in their new home.

The first-ranked Ecuador is not only the cheapest, but also the most popular destination for expats around the world, the study found. It also points to the Central European countries of Poland and Czech Republic being especially popular among expatriates from the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

In order to find the cheapest destinations for expats, InterNations rated expats' daily spending on a scale from one to seven, which is from “very bad” to very good”. Not surprisingly, Ecuador, Poland and the Czech Republished ranked 'very good', with expats here feeling satisfied with their financial situation and income, as well as quality of life. 

In 2015 the top ten were Ecuador, Mexico, Malta, Singapore, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Thailand, Panama, Canada, and Australia.

This is the 2016 Top 5: 


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Czech Republic 


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Previous studies searching for the best countries for expats, regardless of cost of living, have singled out Singapore, Sweden and New Zealand as top choices. Here, however, the cost of living might get down South Africans, who are used to some of the most comfortable living conditions on the globe. 

Less than a month ago, Durban was named as the South African city with the highest quality of life. Cape Town and Johannesburg also made the ranking among world favourite European destinations. 

The countries with the lowest costs of living, according InterNations, are mainly located in South America, Central Europe and Asia, while on the other end of the spectrum, expats encountered the highest living costs in Mozambique, Nigeria and Brazil.

Higher cost of living, says Hashim Zein for InterNations can be because "the neighborhoods where expats live are usually more secure and more premium, thus the costs directly reflect this. Food items typical of Western, South Asian and Far East cuisines, for example, are imported and naturally cost more as they differ somewhat from local tastes." 

Mozambique and Nigeria also rank in the top five for the most expensive housing around the world, but this rarely affects expats as housing is typically provided for expats by business companies. 
Therefore, despite the high cost of living, expats in these countries generally feel that they have enough disposable income.



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The full map of the world's cheapest and most expensive countries for expats, according to InterNations, looks as follows: 

For its annual Expat Insider survey, InterNations asked more than 14 000 expatriates representing 170 nationalities and living in 195 countries or territories to rate and provide information on various aspects of expat life, as well as their gender, age, and nationality.

The ratings of the individual factors were then used to draw up topical indices: Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Family Life, Personal Finance, and Cost of Living.

These were further averaged in order to rank 64 expatriate destinations around the world.