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In today’s global society, living outside your home country, whether for work or pleasure, is increasingly common.
The US State Department estimates that about 8.7 million US citizens are living in other countries, though the exact number is difficult to pin down.
Germany, Mexico, and Costa Rica are the top three destinations for American expats, according to a new annual report from InterNations, which surveyed more than 12,500 expats living in 188 countries.
Unlike for many Europeans, Americans say leaving home isn’t about earning more money.
In fact, nearly half (48%) of US expats reported earning a lower income than at home – a direct contrast to citizens of Spain, Italy, Ireland, Germany, France, and the UK, who all reported higher incomes as expats.
That said, one-fifth of US expats are retirees, according to the report, presumably living off savings rather than income from a current job. Both Mexico and Costa Rica were among the top five on International Living’s 2017 best places to retire list, in part because of their low cost of living.
For those who are working abroad, a higher income may not be necessary to maintain a comfortable lifestyle in a country with a lower cost of living than the US, which ranked No. 41 on InterNations’ cost-of-living index.
Ultimately, the report suggests that perhaps what US expats aren’t earning in dollars they’re making up for in culture and new experiences for an altogether better quality of life.
Scroll through to learn more about expat life in Germany, Mexico, and Costa Rica.
• 20% of expats living in Germany are American, 11% are British, and 5% are Indian.
• Engineering and manufacturing is the top industry.
• 46% of expats report earning between $25,000 and $75,000.
• Nearly 80% of expats feel their household income is sufficient.
• The average age of expats in Germany is 38 years old.
• Mexico made the top five in three different rankings: Ease of settling in, personal finance, and cost of living.
• Mexico ranked No. 1 in the personal happiness subcategory and No. 3 in leisure options.
• 14% of expats in Mexico said they moved there for a better quality of life.
• 80% of expats said they considered the cost of living a potential benefit before moving to Mexico and 74% say they’re generally satisfied with their current financial situation.
3. Costa Rica
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• Costa Rica made the top 10 for three of the indices: Quality of life, ease of settling in, and family life.
• It ranks No. 1 in the finding friends category; 19% of expats say their social circle is mostly locals.
• 68% of expats in Costa Rica are generally satisfied with their financial situation and nearly 80% say they have enough money to cover their daily expenses.
• Almost one-third of expats describe themselves as retired.