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The most popular destinations for British expatriates

09 November, 2009 09:40  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Following last year survey from HSBC on expat existence, Halifax International has published a report on British expatriates. Their research shows that 4% of Britons already own a home abroad and a further 27% of Britons have said that they are considering the option of moving or buying property abroad in the future. Almost one third (32%) of Britons considering a move abroad are below 35 years of age and additional data have also shown that over two-fifths (41%) of those that have moved abroad have no intention of ever returning.

Most Popular Destinations for British Expatriates

Forget New Zealand or Australia: when it comes to leaving the UK to settle somewhere else, France as the most popular destination for Brits moving abroad, according to Halifax.

Rank Country Share of total (%)
1st France 16
2nd Spain 10
3rd USA 8
4th Australia 4
4th Switzerland 4
4th Germany 4

16% of British expatriates currently live in France, with Spain in second place with 10% of the total. The most popular overseas destination for people to move to outside of Europe was the USA at 8%. Australia, Switzerland and Germany came in joint 4th place at 4% of the total each.

Differences in the answers according to age

However those figures need to be considered overall. Indeed, when broken down by age category, it shows that almost one third (33%) of respondents in the survey, aged between 16 to 35 years of age, ranked Australia as being their favourite place in the world to live. When it came to Europe, the younger generation would most like to live in either France or Spain, with 6% of under 25 year olds opting for France and 6% of those aged between 25 to 35 years olds preferring Spain. Italy was voted the ideal European destination for those aged between 35 and 45 years of age.

On the other hand, the research carried out shows that British pensioners prefer Canada as the ideal overseas destination in which to enjoy their retirement. One in six pensioners (15%) have considered moving abroad and a further 12% of respondents have voted Canada as the most popular overseas destination, closely followed by Spain, Australia and New Zealand, all with 10% of the response cast.

As most of them live in Spain or France, there is therefore a big difference between "wish" and "will".

British expatriates in France vs USA

Over two thirds (67%) of British expatriates living in France are aged 55 and over. Nearly one third (32%) are aged between 55 and 64 years of age.

Age of British Expatriates Living In France

Age Of Person Share of total (%)
30 to 44 9
45 to 54 19
55 to 64 32
65 to 75 24
75 years and over 11

Of those British expatriates living in the USA, half (50%) were aged between 45 and 64. Compared to France this is a relatively younger population pointing to a higher percentage of professional expats.

Age of British Expatriates Living In USA

Age Of Person Share of total (%)
30 to 44 13
45 to 54 24
55 to 64 26
65 to 75 18
75 years and over 10

In all, around an estimated 5.5 million British citizens live abroad (Public Policy Research) - a significant percentage of the population (according to the Office for National Statistics, 400,000 British citizens chose to leave the country last year alone).


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