Australia, Spain & US remain top destinations for UK expats: research

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Australia, Spain & US remain top destinations for UK expats: research

The UK's Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) published today the results of its survey that shows Australia, Spain, the US and Canada are the top countries for British expats, with two-thirds living abroad in order to further their careers.

According to the think-tank's survey, 40 countries host more than 40,000 British expats. Australia and Spain remain the most popular choices, with 1.3 million and 761,000 UK expats respectively.

Around 30% of expats are seeking a better quality of life, often in retirement.

The UK's Office for National Statistics estimates 300,000 citizens emigrate each year, a figure that has remained relatively static over the past 20 years.

The top 25 countries for Britons living abroad, according to the IPPR's survey, are:

Rank Country Number of UK expats
1 Australia 1,300,000
2 Spain 761,000
3 United States 678,000
4 Canada 603,000
5 Ireland 291,000
6 New Zealand 215,000
7 South Africa 212,000
8 France 200,000
9 Germany 115,000
10 Cyprus 59,000
11 UAE 55,000
12 Pakistan 47,000
13 Singapore 45,000
14 Switzerland 45,000
15 Israel 44,000
16 The Netherlands 44,000
17 Thailand 41,000
18 China and Hong Kong 36,000
19 Turkey 34,000
20 India 32,000
21 Kenya 29,000
22 Belgium 28,000
23 Barbados 27,000
24 Saudi Arabia 26,000
25 Italy 26,000

The UAE is 11th in the table, with the emirate of Dubai being the most popular Middle East destination for British expats. Elsewhere in the region, Israel makes a surprise entry at 15th, and Turkey is 19th, with most expats living in either Istanbul or along the southern coastal region of Antalya.

The UK's Office for National Statistics estimates 300,000 citizens emigrate each year, a figure that has remained relatively static over the past 20 years.

Around 5 million British citizens live abroad, representing almost 10% of the population.

Strange but true
The survey threw up some interesting facts, including:

  • Cuba is home to six British expat pensioners, and Mongolia to just two.
  • North Korea hosts no UK expats
  • Just 930 Britons live in the Falkland Islands, while 8,300 call Argentina home

Yesterday deVere Group published the findings of its own expat survey, which revealed that more than 60% of all UK expats expect never to return.

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Christopher Copper-Ind

Christopher Copper-Ind is editor-in-chief of International Investment. Before this, he was editorial director of The Business Year, from 2014 to 2017.