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Expats survey ranks “Greece” as one of the worst places in the world to live as expat

Greece ranked as the worst place in the world to live as expat. This is the result of an online survey conducted among expats by Expat Insider, a networking group of Internations.

In the survey Expat Insider asked respondents to rate and provide information about how it is to live as expat in 65 countries around the world that are considered as key destinations for expats.

The ranking is based on 43 factors including quality of life, personal finances, cost of living, health care and education.

More than 12,500 respondents representing 166 nationalities and living in 188 countries or territories answered the survey questions, providing unique insights into what it means to be an expat in 2017. Respondents had their say on moving, living and working abroad.

Respondents ranked Bahrain, Costa Rica and Mexico as the best countries an expat can live in.

Kuwait and Greece are among the 3 worst countries to live as expat.

According to Expat Insider, “Kuwait and Greece have found themselves in the bottom 3 for four consecutive years, and Nigeria has been in the bottom 3 since 2015.”


Finances and family life are causing headaches for expats in Greece: half of the respondents say their household income is not enough to cover their daily expenses, with 27% even saying it’s not nearly enough to get by.

One British respondent mentioned having “feelings of insecurity due to the economic crisis”.

Declines in the Cost of Childcare and Education as well as the Family Well-Being subcategories also led to Greece taking last place in the Family Life Index.

Unfortunately, thew Expat Insider 2017 survey does not present a separate category for Greece and therefore I cannot give you more information about the rates and the demographics that took Greece to one of the top bottom positions.

PS I can fully understand expats living in Greece to be disappointed in terms of earning a living here due to economic crisis. But one of the Worst Places to live as an expat?  I could do a poll here but I’m not sure what to ask….

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  1. As a British ex-pat living in Greece I don’t recognise these comments. Greece is a fabulous place to live, warm friendly people, an easy pace of life, sunshine, clear seas, and the best olive oil and wine in the world!

    For us Brits finances are tight at the moment, mainly because of the Brexit vote and the collapse of the pound. The relative strength of the Euro isn’t helping….

    Take no notice of suspect surveys that probably have a hidden agenda. We love it here, and thank you for allowing us to share your lives!

  2. I think it’s so bad because the schools are very bad in Greece, the hospitals are very bad in Greece and there are almost no childcare options (not everyone can afford a full live in nanny).

    These are three major issues for expats, otherwise, Greece is quite cheap to live in for daily expenses (food, rental costs, etc.)

    • as always since a couple of years by you: distorted Greek reality. at the end you will tell us power is very cheap coz you simply don’t pay the electricity bill as you wrote some time ago,

  3. The truth is that if you rely on the local economy to make ends meet, the pressure of the economy, and the decline of the public services will make it hard to survive, and especially if your standards are high.
    On the other hand, Greece is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and if you are independent of the local economy you have it made.

  4. We lived in Greece for ten years. Although retired and living in a small village we were welcomed by the Greeks and treated like family. We found healthcare pretty good although missed the nursing of UK while in hospital. We supplemented our pensions by looking after expats villas in the winter and in the summer cleaned flotilla boats for four hours a week. Our return to UK was nothing to do with life in Greece but to care for an ill relative.
    I spoke a little Greek and found most Greek offices helpful if you tried.

  5. I’ve been here fifteen years this time, and I’ve lived here twice before in the ’80s and early ’90s for about 18 months to two years each time. My first visit to Greece was in early 1967 – I’d intended to be here for a week at most, and ended up staying three months.

    My wife is Thai, and I could, if I wanted, be living in Thailand.

    I don’t think I need to say any more than that.

  6. I think there is a big difference between people who receiving money from their home country and people who have to earn a living here

  7. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    This survey is a crock of sh!t. Its methodology is given as follows:

    In other words, we do not know what these 43 different aspects of life are; we do not know how they tried to standardise the responses across countries (more or less impossible); and we do not know how the individuaL factors were bundled and why those selections were made.

    In plain language, this is just incompetent survey methodology, with a non-randomised sample population, unknown questions and techniques, and unclear management of the entire project. Worthless garbage.

  8. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    This text is mssing from my post. Something is wrong with your web interface (I enclosed the quotation in single quote marks).

    For the country ranking, survey participants were asked to rate 43 different aspects of life abroad on a scale of one to seven. The respondents’ ratings of the individual factors were then bundled in various combinations for a total of 16 subcategories, and their mean values used to draw up five topical indices. These five indices, as well as the responses to the question: “how satisfied are you with life abroad in general?”, were then averaged in order to arrive at the overall country ranking.

  9. I am a Greek-American who has lived on 4 continents in his career, and chose to return base/retire in Greece in 2001, after 40 years in the US.

    Unfortunately, the survey is accurate as to the quality of life for Expats in Greece.

    Foremost for retirees is cost and healthcare. The Euro-dollar conversion took care of the former, and, a eroding healthcare system (quality/infection control/bribes to docs for access), took care of the latter. Now, you cannot even deposit a US Treasury Check in Greek banks, no less a personal check! Definitely the bottom of the pile.

    The lack of infrastructure that runs efficiently and provision of orderly, predictable, civic services is a major gripe for all ages of Expats. Everything from sewage treatment, transportation, orderly garbage removal, eroding road network, environmental pollution (seas, fresh water streams/rivers, garbage disposal), capricious/inconsistent education system, are at the bottom of 3rd world expectations. Laws are enforced at whim, and, only when there are no local to national “political” imperatives. “Political” in a sense of feudal clientelistic expediency only!

    “Manana” is the business “urgency” of small business owners, and the government “services” are worse and cumbersome/unpredictable.

    Yes, it is a physically beautiful place to live; where it not for the people who are forced to live under imposed conditions and a carefully-cultivated/weaned-ethos that has absolutely nothing in common with that of their GREAT ancestors! “Meritocracy” was a Greek word which is absolutely non-existent in modern Greece; only thing in common modern Greek “civilization” has with that of its Ancient Civilization is that modern Greeks occupy the same geographic space!

    It should not be a surprise semi-literate immigrant Greeks enjoy great success in America, Europe, Australia, and other communities whose great societies encourage and are built upon the foundation of individual self-actualization and initiative, and, leaders who do not feel threatened by a empowered citizenry and strong, creative, local communities; everywhere else, of course, except in Greece and its incompetent, self-serving/preserving/perpetuating, nepotic, corrupt, “political” Mafiocracy (complete with “party” Dons and Capos, who distribute “favors”)!

    Sadly, a matter of time before even the geographic and environmental beauty of the place is corrupted beyond repair!

  10. It always amazes me the greek-americans who come here to live and then gripe non-stop about Greece as if it is the absolute pit-stop of the world. Why stay here? What keeps them here?? Mr. Mourtos of the 4 continents, isn’t it best that you RETURN to a “better” place?

  11. There are probably a lot of factors which makes life in greece a lot more stressful for greeks who have gone abroad and returned, than for retired expats who moved here in retirement..
    Being here as a foriegner and getting a steady dose of money from abroad every month without
    having much here for the system to sink its teeth into makes you , on the one hand, much more welcome here, on the other hand, much more out of the reach of the system since theres not much they can grab from you short of blocking you form leaving the country and holding you hostage, and the fact that you can choose to leave give you a tiny bit of leverage as a category of people. Whereas greeks who went abroad and have now inherited the family house, are in a pretty crappy position vis-a-vis the state: on the one hand the state will try anything to justify grabbing whatever it can of whatever ‘fortune’ they made abroad, on the other hand they have hooks to grab onto you: they can take away the family home, which people have proven sentimental attachment to or else they wouldnt have returned to greece in the first place. It’s not a _rational_ choice to come back, it’s a sentimental choice and we gnash our teeth about it maybe not daily but frequently. They have our balls in a vise and they know it. If we could cut the sentimentality we’d leave again. Since we don’t, and since in the meanwhile we have invested most everything we worked for all these years, back into the home country , inspired by that sentimentality, we have incrementally gotten further into the trap, and we have everything to lose, and they know it.
    A retired brit who gets his pension from the uk and rents a comfy house somewhere is in a whole different universe in greece and yes his life is probably much more comfortable than the greek who returned home. The greek who returned home probably is kicking himself now for sinking his hard-earned life savings into improvements and investments inspired bu the sentimental desire for his homeland.. thinking he has just wasted what took decades to save up and now he hasnt got a second chance to start over again elsewhere.
    Realizing that you stepped into a trap and are getting screwed by the rulers of the country you loved so much you came back to, is painful on many levels as well as an almost daily reminder of the mistake and a punch in the face over and over and over again.
    If i could get back the money and years i spent fixing up fields, wells, walls, the house, and a hundred other things i did inspired by the sentimental desire to return to make the choice again.. i’d have stayed abroad. it’s easier to pine for home from a distance than to give up everything to return to it and have it burn down around you.

  12. Brit expat in Crete

    Nothing wrong with living in Crete or the local Creteans its just the European Union playing God thats killing Greece and most of Europe

  13. Happy expat pensioner

    We have lived in Greece from the UK for 14 years, since our retirement. Apart from the rising cost of living, attempts at double taxation (we have to pay our tax in the UK, not by choice but as decreed by the UK Government because of my husband’s job!), we really enjoy our lives here and have integrated well with the Greek people. We chose to live in the Greek village because we’re not interested in becoming part of a mini Eldorado of expats. There are obviously things that don’t sit well with us. One of the main ones being that we pay all our bills as they are due but the Greeks will delay paying, if possible forever! I hate the corruption not only on a Government level but on a local level. The taverna owners who genuinely want to run an honest business are being ousted by the ones who pay backhanders to flotiilla owners/captains to co-erce their clients into eating at their tavernas, plus free meals every evening etc etc. The Dimos caters to the tourists to the detriment of the locals. Our island is not big enough to accommodate so many cars so, in the summer we daren’t move ours to go for a day out because forget finding a parking place when we get back because they’re all taken by tourists. Some of us have asked about the possibility of paying an annual charge for a numbered space, with a keyed bollard but we were told that would not be fair to the tourists, and yet they need all the extra revenue they can get!
    There are also a number of expats who have not declared that they live in Greece permanently, so run back to their home country to make use of the health service there.We have done everything legally and honestly but are worse off.
    Having got that off my chest, Greece is still beautiful, it just needs to catch up with the 21st century and start clamping down properly on corruption.

  14. Reply to Tsigantes: Will my leaving change any of the symptoms of decay and corruptness I described? Has it occurred to you my staying may; particularly since I was recruited by this Nation to return? For that matter, have you ever considered the personal sacrifice of accomplished Greek-Americans who returned to Greece with the mistaken notion they could help this country with a direly-needed great leap-forward? Of course, if all the change agents and brightest minds leave Greece (as has happened 5 times in the last 100 years) you can go on living comfortably in your self-imposed mediocrity which is not even remotely-related to the ethos of our great ancestors!