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Expat Brits happiest in Spain


The warmer climate of southern Europe is having the best effect on the happiness levels of UK expats in Spain – despite the country’s less-than glowing economy – according to a new survey from Lloyds TSB.

The international bank polled British citizens living in the 10 most popular destinations and found that overall 68 per cent of respondents were much happier in their new country than they were in the UK. This figure did differ significantly from country to country though, with Spain topping the list (75.9 per cent) and Germany ranking highly (71 per cent).

The research also looked at the quality of life expats had in their new home, as well as their cost of living and financial well-being. It was revealed that 77 per cent of expats in Australia and 79 per cent in New Zealand said they had a much better standard of living, yet this didn’t translate directly to happiness, with 64.7 per cent and 50 per cent respectively saying they were happier. 

This suggests other factors play an important role, with one such point being the cost of living. As an example, 35 per cent of those in Australia and 29 per cent in New Zealand said costs were lower there than in Britain.

Another consideration for Britons living abroad is their overall financial well-being, which is where the tax-free United Arab Emirates takes the lead in the study. Here, 95 per cent of expats said they were financially better off. That said, only 22 per cent saying their cost of living was lower than in the UK. 

Nicholas Boys Smith of Lloyds TSB International, says: “Much has been made of the gloomy economic outlook in Spain and the government’s austerity programme, but despite this stream of bad news, British expats think their financial prospects are better there than in the UK. But more importantly, it seems a good quality of life, perhaps including the sunny weather and the laidback Mediterranean lifestyle, are contributing to Spain’s place as number one for general happiness.” 

“These findings show that there is a real variety of decisions to be made when choosing where to emigrate. Expats who choose a country solely based on financial prospects may find they compromise on quality of life, or vice versa. Happiness is influenced by many different factors which need to be considered together – for example New Zealand was thought to have the best quality of life, but actually ranked lowest for overall happiness.”

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