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Kenya has been voted as one of the best places to live for expats, outperforming the US.

Kenya has been voted as one of the best places to live for expats, outperforming big economies like the US in this year ranking, a new report has found.

The United States ranked12 spots below Kenya in a survey that asked expatriates for the best place to live in a global report published this week. Kuwait ranked the worst out of 53 countries.

According to the Expat Insider 2023 survey, Kenya, with its vibrant expat community, claimed the 18th spot, leaving countries such as the US (30th), France (33rd) and Germany (49th) trailing behind.

This ranking comes from the comprehensive Expat Insider 2023 report by InterNations, the world’s largest expat community, which provides a unique perspective into the world as seen through the eyes of expats.

Mexico topped the list as the most desirable place for expatriates to live globally, followed by Spain and then Panama. From Africa, Kenya (18th) was the only country to make the top-20 list, South Africa placed 48th.

In February, the survey was sent to more than 12,000 expatriates living in 172 countries with an online questionnaire organized into five categories. Participants were asked to rate 56 factors in the categories of quality of life, ease of settling in, working abroad, personal finance and expat essentials. Only countries with a sample size of at least 50 participants were considered. 

The US was confirmed to be a top destination for job prospects and career growth, but it fell short in areas of personal finance, quality of life, and healthcare, a subcategory that proved to be particularly challenging, as it ranked 52nd, only ahead of Ireland.

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On the other end of the spectrum, Mexico’s top spot was earned through high scores in local friendliness and cultural adaptability subcategories, consistently ranking in the top five since the survey’s inception in 2014. The podium was completed by Spain, second, and Panama, third.

Kuwait, on the other hand, found itself at the bottom of the list, with expats expressing dissatisfaction with the quality of life, leisure options, and their ability to express their opinions openly. Many respondents also reported struggling to form friendships in Kuwait.

Turkey ranked 51st in the overall index and the worst worldwide for working abroad. About 30% of expatriates in the country, nearly twice the global average, are unhappy with their working hours. They do not feel secure or believe there are many career opportunities, and nearly one in four are not satisfied with their jobs in general.

There has been little change at the top of the Quality-of-Life Index, with nine of the ten best rated destinations already holding a top 10 position in 2022. Two African countries among the

bottom 10: South Africa (49th) and Kenya (45th). Expats in both appreciate the weather, the natural environment, and to a lesser degree, the rating factors in the Leisure Options Subcategory (e.g., culinary variety & dining options).

But sunshine and good food cannot make up for some serious safety concerns: South Africa ranks last here (53rd), and Kenya (50th) does not fare much better. And expats are also very dissatisfied with the Travel & Transit Subcategory (South Africa 53rd, Kenya 49th).

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In finding friends, Kenya was ranked (5th) and Greece (8th). The Local Friendliness Subcategory looks at the general friendliness of the local population and their friendliness towards foreign residents in particular.

In the Finding Friends Subcategory, expats share if they have a personal support network, are happy with their social life abroad, and find making local friends is easy.

Lastly, the Culture & Welcome Subcategory is based on whether expats feel at home as well as welcome in their respective country of residence, and if it is easy to get used to the local culture there.

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