Expat Insider 2021: How does Australia compare to the world?

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InterNations has released the results of their annual Expat Insider survey – and Australia did well!

The survey quizzed expats on topics ranging from their financial situation to career prospects, and expats in Australia rated the country highly in most categories.

Overall, Australia ranked in the top 10.

What expats think of Australia

Expats in Australia enjoy the country’s beautiful environment, great working life, and plenty of leisure options. In fact, 81% of respondents are happy with their social life Down Under.

A US American expat said their survey, “Living in close proximity to nature – close to the beach and the rainforest – is so amazing!”

The drawback? High expenses. While 63% of respondents are happy with their financial situation, 41% of expats are unhappy with the cost of living. One expat mentioned his unhappiness with the cost of rent, saying rent is high in the major cities.

Overall, however, 85% of expats are satisfied with their life in Australia. This landed Australia at 7th place overall in the Expat Insider survey.

The positives clearly more than make up for the negatives!

How does the Expat Insider survey work?

For the 2021 Expat Insider survey, 12,240 respondents representing 174 different nationalities and living in 186 countries or territories worldwide were asked to evaluate life abroad.

What factors into the ranking?

The overall ranking of each country was determined by the answers of respondents to questions across four categories:

  1. Quality of Life – Leisure options, Personal happiness, Travel and transportation, Health and well-being, Safety and security, Digital life, Quality of the environment
  2. Ease of Settling – Feeling at home, Friendliness, Finding friends, Language
  3. Personal Finance
  4. Working Abroad – Career prospects and satisfaction, Work and leisure, Economy and job, Security

Expats were also asked to respond to the question “How satisfied are you with life abroad in general?”

Who responded to the survey?

The Expat Insider survey breaks down the statistics of respondents as follows:

  • Gender: 48% female, 52% male
  • Relationship status: 63% in a relationship, 37% single
  • Family status: 80% without dependent children abroad, 20% with dependent children abroad
  • Age: 46.1 years on average
  • Level of education: 83% with university degree (2% with no degree, 7% high school graduate, 8% commercial/technical/vocational training)

What countries were in the top 10?

The top 10 countries overall were:

  1. Taiwan
  2. Mexico
  3. Costa Rica
  4. Malaysia
  5. Portugal
  6. New Zealand
  7. Australia
  8. Ecuador
  9. Canada
  10. Vietnam

Top findings from the top three countries


Taiwan has always scored highly for both the affordability the quality of local healthcare, among other factors. In 2021, an astounding 96% of respondents in Taiwan rated the quality of medical care positively, and nearly 66% couldn’t be any happier.


Mexico is known for offering expats a hospitable, welcoming and affordable environment. Not only has it landed in the top 5 of each ranking since 2014, but it also lead in the 2021 Ease of Settling Index.

Costa Rica:

Costa Rica ranked second out of 65 countries in 2017 and then dropped all the way to the 21st position by 2019. Now, it has managed to climb back up again. Similar to Mexico, Cost Rica does particularly well with regard to personal finance and the ease of settling in. The country also impresses expats with its natural environment and great work-life balance.

Want to read the complete Expat Insider survey?

If you want to know more about Australia’s performance on the 2021 survey, click here to download it from InterNation’s website.

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