The latest HSBC Expat Explorer Survey has published data this week that reveals Spain is considered the best expat destination in the world for an active social life and excellent healthcare.

According to surveys across 39 countries, Spain also performs very strongly on property values and choice – coming third overall – quality of life, where Spain came second, and culture, where the country ranked third.

Despite having an overall position of just 13th, Spain performed well in the more valued areas that families and many would be expats would seek, such as safety, integration, the ability to make friends and the provisions for families – particularly the ease with which children can settle into their new lives abroad.

The eighth HSBC survey, appeared to favour financial measurements, with Singapore claiming top-spot, largely due to its well known ability to provide well paying jobs to expats who live there. The country also scored very highly on safety and has improved on matters relating to culture and integration as the expat community continues to grow.

Spain was let down on school quality, where it ranked 26th and finance, where it ranked 17th. The issue of school quality is interesting, given that Spain was up against many destinations that bend over backwards to accommodate expats, like Singapore. Although those on the Costa del Sol are spoilt for choice for first class schools, there are still regions where very few international or British schools exist, hence the disparity. As for finance, Spain’s economic woes in recent years are well
documented, but then so is the recovery which has gathered pace impressively this year.

On balance, Spain performed well in fields that are bound to matter to most expats. The country is seen as providing top rated healthcare, a brilliantly welcoming culture in which it is easy to integrate, make friends and socialise, and a country that has high levels of tolerance.

Job security, entrepreneurship, wage growth and career progression are where Spain performed poorest, but these are each – while not easily fixable – at least are areas which the country as a whole can work on.

The survey broke down each country into these categories: ECONOMICS, EXPERIENCE & FAMILY. Spain came 36th out of 39 for Economics, but ranked 2nd overall for Experience and 4th overall for Family – delivering the widest ‘split’ between categories of any nation.

The results for Spain’s politicians are very clear; sort out the economy and the job market and you will then have on your hands, the finest country in the world in which to be an expat.

In contrast to Spain’s 13th placement, the UK ranked 23rd, France 29th and Italy a very disappointing and slightly surprising 38th, just finishing above the bottom country of Brazil.

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