Every year, HSBC Expat administers the Expat Explorer survey with the aim of collecting information about the life of expats in countries all over the world. In 2012, more than 5,000 expats took part in the survey, making it the largest survey of this kind to date. The questions cover many aspects of life abroad, from finance to quality of life.
There are three main ranking criteria:
- Expat Economics: looks at the different economic situation of every country (includes: income, disposable income, high quality accommodation, … )
- Expat Experience: focuses on expats’ lifestyle, how well they can fit in the new culture and society (includes: organizing finances, making friends, local work culture, social life etc.)
- Raising Children Abroad: focuses on the quality of life of expats’ children and the possibility for the kids to well integrate the new culture (includes: childcare, quality of education, cost of raising children…)
Hong Kong got first place in the overall results; it’s considered by many expats to be not only a good place to live because of the city’s economic development, but also one of the safest places to raise kids in.
If we look at the first two criteria, mainland China ranks #11 (7th for Economics and 22nd for Experience). However, there wasn’t enough data about China to rank in the Raising Children Abroad criteria. Under that category, Canada gets first place and the Netherlands second.
The aspects in which China received high scores are:
- Disposable Income
- Domestic helper/staff
- Organizing school for my children
- Finding accommodation
- Making friends
- Traveling more
China received low scores concerning:
- Nicer cars
- Healthcare access and quality
- Healthy diet
In terms of the Economics criterion, the situation for expats in China seems bright. In 2011, the country initially ranked 19th for Economics but moved up to seventh place in 2012. Most the expats surveyed in 2012 reported being satisfied overall, registering an increase of income and improvement in their financial status, believing that China offers a high quality of life to foreign workers.
We’ll see how China ranks next year, what with the problem of the pollution getting worse and an increasing number of expats starting to consider moving somewhere else.
How do you think Beijing rates on these aspects? Feel free to post your comments below.
Original survey: Expat Explorer survey