South Africa losing expat appeal

South Africa ranks 22nd out of a list of 34 countries when it comes to the quality of life, financial well-being and the ease of raising a family abroad.

This is according to The Expat Explorer survey 2014, commissioned by financial services company, HSBC, and conducted by third party research company YouGov, which surveyed 9,288 people.

South Africa was ranked 15th out of 37 countries in the 2013 survey, based off of the responses of over 7,000 people.

In 2014, Switzerland was ranked as the top country by expats looking for a high quality lifestyle, followed by Singapore, China, Germany and Bahrain.

The survey focuses on the experiences of expats in their new country of residence. The  overall league table ranks each country using a score that summarises expats’ overall impression of the country.

The overall score is the average of the Expat Economics, Expat Experience and Raising Children Abroad scores, covering 43 different criteria from the survey.

Top 10 expat destinations

# Country Scores
1 Switzerland 0.55
2 Singapore 0.53
3 China 0.53
4 Germany 0.53
5 Bahrain 0.51
6 New Zealand 0.50
7 Thailand 0.49
8 Taiwan 0.49
9 India 0.49
10 Hong Kong 0.48

Surprisingly, South Africa features highly in the ‘Raising Children Abroad‘ category – the best place for expat families to bring up children abroad. It ranks in second place, behind New Zealand, but ahead of Germany, Japan, Singapore and India.

South Africa

Category Rank Score
Overall 22 0.43
Economics 31 0.27
Expat experience 14 0.48
Raising children 2 0.53
Raising children 24 0.37

The Raising Children Abroad league table ranks each country using a score that summarises expat parents’ views about raising their children in that country.

This category calculates the average of the childcare, education, health and children’s experience scores. Here SA ranks 4th, 14th, 3rd, and 1st respectively.

For ‘Expat Economics‘, South Africa rates poorly, 31st, out of 34 countries, behind only Spain, Italy, and Egypt.

Expat Economics looks at a range of factors including expat earning levels, saving and investing patterns, and the impact of the current global financial climate, to paint an informed picture of expats’ economic situation around the world.

In this category, China tops the list, followed by Switzerland, Singapore, Oman and Qatar

For ‘Expat Experience‘, SA is ranked 14th, with New Zealand placed 1st, followed by Bahrain, Singapore, Australia, and Switzerland.

Expat Experience covers an expat’s lifestyle, especially the level of ease or difficulty in which expats can set up in their new country, how well they integrate into the local community, and their overall quality of life.

The ‘Expat Expenses‘ score is used to reveal insights into the cost of living in the host country. In this category, South Africa is ranked 24th, one spot behind the only other African country on the list, Egypt.

Thailand is placed 1st in this category, followed by Vietnam, Taiwan,China, and Bahrain.

The Expat Expenses league table ranks each country using a score that summarises
expats’ ability to afford a range of goods and services – 35% of the Expat Expenses score is derived from the disposable income score, with the remaining 65% coming from the cost of everyday goods and services score.

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South Africa losing expat appeal