Worlds apart: The divide between male and female expats

Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, goes the old saying, but the happiest male and female expats are from different places altogether, according to new research.

The annual ExpatInsider report from InternNations shows that Ecuador is the favourite place for expats, with 91 per cent of the survey participants satisfied with the cost of living and 80 per cent saying the same about their personal financial situation. The country is also ranked well for settling in and finding friends.

While Ecuador is an established first place, though, the rest of the rankings differ between genders.

Mexico holds spot two for men in the survey, but only ninth place for women. It ranks first for men in the personal finance index, with 36 per cent happy with their financial situation – ahead of just 19 per cent of women.

Women in Mexico are also not nearly as satisfied with socialising and leisure as men (ninth vs. first place). In terms of settling in, one-third of men (32 per cent) agree that it is easy to get used to Mexican culture, compared to 15 per cent of women.

New Zealand ranks 3rd for men but only 14th for women. For the general Quality of Life Index, New Zealand ranks 6th for men and 32nd for women, which puts it in the bottom half. As in Mexico, expat men seem to be generally happier than women with socialising and leisure activities (85 per cent versus 72 per cent).

New Zealand comes first in the Ease of Settling In Index for men and eighth for women. Only two in ten women (21 per cent) agree it’s very easy to get used to the local culture, compared to 36 per cent of men.

Malta comes in second place among the women surveyed. A third of women are completely satisfied with their work-life balance (global average for men and women: 17 percent). Outside of work, they appreciate Malta for both the quality and affordability of its medical care (fourth and fifth global rank among women).

Women also find it easy to settle in to their life in Malta. Eight in ten generally feel at home in Maltese culture and 27 per cent think it is very easy to make local friends. They also say Malta is the easiest country to live in without speaking the local language, with 77 per cent in complete agreement.

Thailand ranks third for women but rather lower for men (13th place). Women generally find it easier to settle down here. Women also give Thailand higher scores in the Quality of Life Index. Half of them say the quality of medical care is very good, compared to 38 per cent of men. A higher percentage of women are also generally satisfied with the transport infrastructure (77 per cent versus 67 per cent of men).