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Expat? 14 best places in the world to live and work


By Laurie Kulikowski/

If you have always wanted to live abroad, there are plenty of great places to choose from.

Take Ecuador, for instance.

The small South American country ranked first among those surveyed by expatriate-focused social network InterNations in "personal happiness," "finding friends," "personal finance" and "cost of living" and fifth for "working abroad." Ecuador has 15 million people and a small economy ($90 billion in gross domestic product) but might just be the next best place to wherever you are now if you must leave.

InterNations conducted its survey online, asking nearly 14,000 expats from 169 countries a series of questions about the quality of their lives in their new homes. Factors such as overall quality of life, family life, cost of living and others were given weight based on how important survey respondents ranked them for their overall happiness.

Here are the 14 top countries in the world for expats, starting from least friendly to most.

14. Canada


Our neighbors to the North ranked 8th in "family life" and 11th in "ease of settling in."

13. South Korea


This peninsular country ranked 8th in "overall quality of living" and 11th in "personal finance."

12. Germany


This central European economic powerhouse ranked 3rd in "working abroad," 5th in "quality of life" and 5th in "family life."

11. Costa Rica

Ulrike Hammerich/iStockphoto

This Central American country ranked 4th in "friendliness," 5th in "finding friends," 6th in "personal happiness" and 6th in "ease of settling in."

10. Hong Kong

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This Chinese protectorate ranked 2nd in "travel and transport," 4th in "general quality of life" and 8th in "leisure options."

9. Australia

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This nation ranked 10th in "ease of settling in" and 12th in both "quality of life" and "working abroad."

8. Philippines


This archipelago ranked 2nd in "personal happiness," 5th in "ease of settling in" and 6th in "friendliness."

7. Spain


This Western European country ranked 2nd in both "quality of life" and "ease of settling in."

6. Singapore

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This city state ranked 6th in both "quality of life" and "working abroad."

5. United States


The U.S. ranked 4th in "ease of settling in" and 12th in "family life."

4. Switzerland

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This mountainous country ranked 1st in "quality of life" and 4th in "working abroad."

3. Mexico


This southern neighbor ranks 1st in "ease of settling in," 4th in "personal happiness" and 12th in "leisure options."

2. Luxembourg


This tiny European country ranked 2nd in "working abroad."

1. Ecuador

Jess Kraft/iStockphoto

The clear winner in the survey, Ecuador, ranked 1st in "personal happiness," "finding friends," "personal finance" and "cost of living," and 5th for "working abroad."