The only other EU countries in the top 20 are Germany (8th place), Poland (13th place), Ireland (14th place) and France (17th place). The UK has even dropped to 27th place!
This is the best position for Spain since the start of the survey 12 years ago. The study used feedback from more than 18,000 respondents to come to its conclusions. Indicators used are living standards, professional and financial goals, and opportunities for children.
This is where it gets very interesting, as the answer is not what you might intuitively expect. Despite Spain´s low annual average salary of € 36,000 (the global average is € 67,300), and very limited career and financial prospects, it still manages to leapfrog many countries and take overall 4th place.
Of course, as one would expect, the good weather plays an important role, as indicated by 39% of respondents. And when it comes to offering excellent quality of life (56% of respondents), Spain is even a clear winner and takes 1st place.
However, personal safety is now the most determining factor as to why people like to live and work in Spain. 61% of respondents said they felt safer and more protected here in Spain than in their home country. EU countries such as Sweden (-13 places drop !!! ), Germany (-5 places), France (-6 places) have taken big hits in the ranking.
These are traditionally countries with excellent social security services, excellent public services and the best career and financial prospects. Yet, without exception, they all see sharp declines in popularity with expats. And they all have 1 worrying trend in common (sadly often hushed or downplayed by the media): an increase in social unrest and tensions, the growth of no-go zones and ghettoization in the larger cities (Malmo and Paris are just some examples that spring to mind), uncontrolled mass-immigration and general increase in crime rates.
So far, Spain has avoided this trend (because of its less generous social security system?), and everything points towards a continuation of this trend. In case you look for further decisive factors to buy a property in Spain, this may well be an important one!