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UK ranks as one of the worst countries to live in the world

Houses of Parliament in UK. Photo: Getty
Houses of Parliament in London, UK. Photo: Getty

Britain is one of the worst countries in the world to live as an expat.

That’s according to the major benchmark Expat Insider 2019 report which surveyed 20,259 expats, representing 182 nationalities and living in 187 countries or territories.

An expat is defined as an employee sent abroad on a corporate assignment or classed as a new international hire. The survey ran from 7 to 28 March. Respondents were asked to score 48 different factors — which fall into 17 subcategories — related to living abroad. Those 17 subcategories are then put into five pillars —Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Family Life, and Personal Finance.


For a place to be ranked, there needs to be a sample size of at least 75 survey participants per destination. The only exception to this rule is the Family Life Index, where a sample size of at least 40 respondents raising children abroad is necessary.

For the 2019, 64 destinations, respectively, met these requirements, although many countries or territories the sample size exceeded by 75 or even 100 participants.

The UK scored low across the board with Brexit dragging the country down in several categories.

Chart: InterNations
Chart: InterNations

Britain came in at 62nd place, out of 64 countries for personal happiness. The UK also scored low for quality of life, thanks to the current political climate — 42% of expats rated political stability negatively versus the global average of 17% of people being dissatisfied. This has hit opinion on the economy and job security.

One German expat said: “Brexit makes our future uncertain.”

The weather also had an effect on scores — 49% of people rated the climate negatively. A Lithuanian expat even adds that “the weather affects my general health and wellbeing.”

Chart: InterNations
Chart: InterNations

Expats moving to the UK also find it hard to settle in when comparing it to the global average.

Some 52% feel at home in the local culture versus 60% globally while 16% don’t think they will ever feel at home in the UK versus the global average of 13%. An American expat adds that “the locals are reserved and won’t go out of their way to be overly social. They may let you into their fold, but never in their inner circle.”

Britain is also an expensive place to live — the UK ranks 60th out of 64 countries in the Personal Finance Index. Only 10% of respondents are completely satisfied with their financial situation and only two in five say their disposable income is more than what they need to cover expenses. Childcare is also considered hard to afford, say 69% of expats.

Chart: InterNations
Chart: InterNations