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


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

In our two-part look at expat nations which offer the highest wage and disposable income we used data collated in the latest HSBC Expat Explorer survey.

In Part One we listed the top ten nations (Switzerland, China, Qatar, Thailand, Cayman Islands, Indonesia, Germany, Oman, Singapore and Turkey) and in Part Two we’ll be seeing which other nation’s made it into the top 20.


With the 4th highest disposable income (but only the 19th highest overall income) Bahrain just missed out on a place in the top ten.


The 11th best income and 17th highest disposable income of the nations surveyed helped India take 12th place. In the notes published with the figures it was said that ‘the research reveals that the expat population is overwhelmingly satisfied with the state of the economy [...] The beneficial economic environment filters down to the expat’s everyday finances’.


This nation might have a low overall income (coming in at 34th) but expats living in Taiwan have the eighth highest disposable income in the world and feel comparatively confident in the region’s economic stability. The HSBC report commented: ‘The happiness of expats in Taiwan is also shaped by their views of the country’s economy; three quarters feel satisfied with the economic situation in Taiwan, compared to a global average of just 56%. Alongside economic confidence, expats also benefit from lower living costs. Over half of expats spend less on housing (52%) and groceries (54%) and a similar proportion (45%) find that household goods are cheaper.’


Malaysia takes 14th position by hosting the 5th highest overall income, although the country only ranked 27th in terms of disposable income. According to the report; ‘41% [of expats believe] the economy is getting better (compared to a global average of 32%), while nearly eight in ten (78%) say they are satisfied with the local economy (compared to a global average of 56%). As a result, few expats are looking to leave the country because of a negative economic outlook, only 15% compared to a global average of 25%. More than half (54%) of expats in Malaysia believe the country offers a higher quality of life compared to a global average of 45%.’

Saudi Arabia

As the report highlights; ‘47% of expats in Saudi Arabia associate the country with strong economic growth compared to a global average of 33% and 29% of expats who are very satisfied with the state of the local economy, which is more than double the global average. Expats in Saudi Arabia also benefit from a lower personal income tax system with 56% of expats paying less tax now than they did in their home country [...] 19% feel that the local economy poses a financial threat to them compared to a global average of 37%.’ The figures compiled by HSBC have Saudi Arabia offering the 16th highest disposable income and 10th highest rating of expat economic satisfaction.

United Arab Emirates

While the United Arab Emirates only offers residents the 20th highest income and 25th highest disposable income, it ranked 9th in terms of expectations regarding fiscal security.


In the HSBC Expat Explorer’s overall rankings (which look at economics in conjunction with experience and raising children) Australia came 5th. But on a purely economic basis Australia drops to 17th. While total income in the nation is high, disposable income is comparatively low.


Canada might not rank as highly economically as you might expect, but the nation scored very well in other areas – the friendliness of locals and the ease of starting up as an expat in Canada were mentioned particularly.

Hong Kong

At 19 it’s Hong Kong. Although the region proved very popular for expat families, living costs are high with ‘45% of expats paying much more than before for housing compared to a global average of 30%’.


Just managing to squeeze into the top 20 is Russia. It might have come in at 31st in terms of income, but with the 5th highest disposable income of all the nations surveyed Russia managed to rank fairly well on the list.

It might surprise you to know that based solely on the economic criteria examined by HSBC the US comes in at 23rd, New Zealand at 29th, the United Kingdom at 32nd, France at 33rd and Spain at 34th.

What do you think? Have these results surprised you? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter, or leave a comment in the Expat Hub Forum!

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.