Safest Countries in the World for Expats

 

Moving abroad is a big decision, with safety often being a top priority when it comes to looking for a place to live. It's important that you feel safe and relaxed in the destination you choose, finding somewhere that fits your individual lifestyle needs and preferences.

In this blog, we have a look at some of the safest countries in the world for expats.

Iceland

Situated in the North Atlantic Ocean and with a population of approximately 370,000 people, Iceland is a peaceful destination for international citizens.

In the Institute for Economics & Peace's Global Peace Index 2023, Iceland retained its title as the safest country to live in worldwide for the 17th year. It was also found to be the 3rd most peaceful country in the “societal safety and security" domain of this index, highlighting its reputation for providing a comfortable place to live for its residents.[1]

If you’re looking to move to Iceland, there are a number of locations that are ideal for expats. You could consider the capital Reykjavik, with its nearby lagoons, waterfalls and volcanoes or Akureyri, where you can go whale watching or enjoy being surrounded by the mountains.

Alternatively, you might like Hafnarfjörður, the third largest location in the country and famous for its beautiful harbour and its vibrant cultural scene.

In addition, Iceland's healthcare system has an excellent reputation, ranked 8th in the world for its healthcare in 2023 according to Statista.[2] The state healthcare system here is universal for Icelandic residents and is administered by the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs.

New Zealand

Another country that is often found to be one of the safest countries globally is New Zealand, sitting at 4th in the Global Peace Index 2023.[1] It has a population of five million people and is recognised for its stunning landscapes, sweeping fjords and extensive hiking trails. 

As part of this index, New Zealand ranked in the top twenty most peaceful countries within the "societal safety and security" domain, which is based on indicators like homicide rate and terrorism impact.[1] This enables expats to feel comfortable within their new home.

There are many perfect destinations in New Zealand that are suitable for expats. These range from the capital of Wellington, known for its creativity and delicious food, coming in at 7th in The Economist's Safe City Index 2021, to Auckland on the southern island, home to the largest population in New Zealand and nicknamed the "City of Sails".[3]

Denmark

This small European country is also viewed as a peaceful place to live, ranking 2nd in the Global Peace Index 2023.[1]

Some locations that expats could consider to live include:

  • Copenhagen: the capital has a population of more than 600,000 residents and is found in eastern Denmark. It also came top in The Economist's Safe City Index in 2021.[3]
  • Odense: this is a thriving art hub found on the island of Funen, and is popular with sports lovers and those who love being outdoors.
  • Aalborg: an ancient city situated in Jutland, Aalborg is recognised for its stunning waterfront and an extensive array of street art.

As well as being a destination renowned for being safe, Denmark is considered the second happiest place to live worldwide according to the World Happiness Report, highlighting the good quality of life on offer here.[5]

For those looking to move abroad for work, heaving a healthy work-life balance can be important. Check out our blog, where we look at some of the best countries for this.

Do you want to know more about claiming international medical insurance for living abroad? Learn more here.

Portugal

Located on the Atlantic Ocean and with a population of 10 million people, Portugal has an excellent reputation for being a safe place to live, coming 7th in the Global Peace Index 2023.[1]

The quality of life in Portugal also ranked highly in Internation's Expat Insider Survey Quality of Life Index, scoring 7th.[4] This is measured on different factors, which includes: leisure options, safety & security, travel & transit, healthcare and environment & climate. 

Areas that are ideal for expats in Portugal include:

  • Lisbon: with its vibrant architecture and breathtaking sea views, Lisbon is home to around 500,000 people and is found on the south coast of Portugal.
  • Porto: situated on the Douro River, Porto's centre became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996. It's located in the north of Portugal and has 200,000 residents. 
  • Coimbra: found in central Portugal, Coimbra is the fourth-largest city in Portugal and is recognised for its prestigious university and its medieval old town.

When it comes to moving abroad, there is lots to prepare, from packing your belongings to organising your documentation. Check out our blog for some useful tips to help you stay organised.

Ireland

Ireland is another country that is often found to be a safe destination for expats, ranking third in 2023’s Global Peace Index.[1] From its historic sites and verdant countryside to its thriving cities, living in Ireland presents many exciting adventures for residents.

Locations in Ireland that you could think about living incorporate:

  • Dublin: the capital city, Dublin has a thriving cultural scene and is recognised by UNESCO as a city of literature.
  • Cork: this destination is the largest city in the south of Ireland is famous for its gastronomy and rocky coastline.
  • Galway: found on Ireland's west coast, Galway is an excellent choice for people who enjoy spending time outside, with notable sites including the Connemara National Park and Salthill Promenade.

Should you be pondering a relocation to Ireland, then it can be useful to know that Ireland has also been voted as one of the happiest countries in the world, coming in at 17th.[5] More than 1 in 10 people in Ireland are also non-Irish nationals according to its 2022 census, emphasising the country's popularity with expats. [6]

 

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