Expat Nations with the Highest Wage and Disposable Income – Part One


Expat Nations with the Highest Wage and Disposable Income – Part One

When you’re planning a move overseas, factors like the weather, culture and lifestyle play a big part in what nation you chose to emigrate to. But the economy of the country, and particularly what kind of wage you would be able to command there, is often of equal importance.

The annual HSBC Expat Explorer survey examines the three main points of focus when picking an emigration destination (economics, experience and raising children) and compiled a league table based on the experiences of existing expats.

However, as everyone is looking for different things in terms of experience while a good environment for raising a family isn’t a criteria for expats without children, we’ve stripped out these results to bring you a list of the top twenty most economically viable locations based on the data collated by HSBC.

In Part One we’ll see how the top ten shape up…


Switzerland snagged the top spot by offering the 4th highest wage, the 6th best disposable income and the 4th best level of economic satisfaction among expats.


Although China offered the 3rd highest income and the 11th best disposable income, it took the number 2 spot when it comes to the level of economic satisfaction among expats which helped China rank 2nd overall. The report commented; ‘Higher salaries [enable] expats to enjoy a greater quality of life when they arrive in China. With a higher disposable income, expats are keen to make the most of the culture, cuisine and history’.


Qatar might provide expats with the 14th highest income of all the nations surveyed, but it came third in terms of disposable income.


Of the nations involved in the survey Thailand is home to the highest disposable income but the 15th highest overall income.

Cayman Islands

In the Cayman Island’s expats can enjoy the 2nd highest overall income and the 2nd highest disposable income. However, foreign residents are less confident in the economic stability of the area then in any of the other nations in the top five.


Indonesia is on a par with Thailand in securing expats the highest average income, although the nation comes 10th when it comes to disposable income and 18th when it comes to expat confidence. These comments about Indonesia’s economy were supplied with the figures; ‘The economic boom of recent years is demonstrated by the expat satisfaction in the local economy, with two thirds (66%) of expats expressing satisfaction with the state of the local economy compared to a global average of 56%. Furthermore, nearly half (47%) of expats in Indonesia associate the country with economic growth compared to a global average of 33%.’


Despite offering the 6th highest yearly income of all the nations surveyed, Germany was 24th for disposable income. That being said, the nation did rank 3rd in expat confidence.


Oman came top in terms of expat economic confidence and the nation was able to sneak into the overall economic top ten as a result, although it ranked 24th for total income and 14th for disposable income.


While this Asian nation came 5th in host economic satisfaction, its 12th highest disposable income and 17th highest total income left it languishing in 9th place overall.

The survey compilers had this to say of life in Singapore; ‘while expats are earning more, they are also spending more as Singapore only ranked 29th in the Expat Expenses league table. As well as the high cost of groceries and going out (65% and 64% said they are spending more respectively), Singapore emerges as one of the most expensive countries for public transport, with 63% of expats pointing out the higher costs.’


As the home to the 7th highest overall income and the 21st highest disposable income, the HSBC report had this to say of Turkey; ‘Turkey is fast-becoming something of a hotspot for banking and financial services activity, attracting a steady stream of expats keen to make their mark in the business world. Expats in Turkey tend to have generally positive feelings about their local economy with eight in ten (81%) expats saying they are satisfied with its present state of the economy compared with a global average of 56%.’

Check out Part Two to see what nations just missed out on being in the top ten.

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Laura Barrett
This post was written by
Laura moved from the US to the UK several years ago. As a corporate sales executive for a leading foreign exchange company, Laura has expert knowledge of currency movements and market trends and is able to offer specialist guidance regarding making a trade at the most lucrative time and protecting transactions from currency risk.