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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Australia vs. New Zealand: A Close Call

Most people tend to mentally lump Australia and New Zealand together — but there are some surprising differences concerning expat life in these destinations.
  • Lack of travel opportunities leaves expats feeling isolated
  • Kiwis even more welcoming than the traditionally friendly Australians
  • Great work-life balance but high cost of living
  • Expat parents praise affordable, high-quality Australian education

Expat Statistics 2016

Expat Statistics for Australia and New Zealand — infographic

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Remote Locations — But Very Attractive Nonetheless

Expats appreciate the region for its quality of life, with New Zealand and Australia ranking 13th and 16th out of 67, respectively, in the Quality of Life Index. More than one-fifth of the respondents in each country say their main reason for moving there was the quality of life.

However, the quality of living is not necessarily appreciated for the very same reasons in both countries: 45% of expats in Australia consider the weather very good, compared to only 26% in New Zealand. Moreover, looking at travel opportunities, 29% of expats are very satisfied in the former destination, while only 19% think the same about New Zealand. But even Australia’s score is low compared to the 40% of expats worldwide who are very satisfied with this factor: survey respondents feel the region’s relative isolation.

New Zealand scores more points when it comes to healthcare: 24% find medical care very affordable, compared to 16% in Australia. The country also has an advantage regarding the quality of the environment, with 63% judging it very good, as compared to 50% in Australia. Both countries perform extremely well compared to the global average of 28%, though.

Are “Kiwis” the Friendlier Folks?

The region is among the easiest places to settle in. According to the Ease of Settling In Index, Australia ranks 20th, and New Zealand even 5th out of 67. The difference can be partly explained by the friendliness towards foreign residents, judged favorably by 83% of expats in New Zealand, compared to 71% in Australia.

Furthermore, while Australian people have a general reputation of being friendly, according to expats, New Zealand does it even better: 21% think it is very easy to make local friends, compared to 14% in Australia. Also, 34% of expats say it is extremely easy to get used to the local culture in New Zealand, while 29% in Australia share that view. Generally speaking, both local cultures seem to be fairly welcoming, since only 16% say the same worldwide.

The warm welcome might help to explain why these countries attract more expat women than average: 61% and 59% of expats in Australia and New Zealand, respectively, are female.

Moreover, Australia attracts a more adventurous type of expats than New Zealand. To live in a country full of crocodiles, snakes, and flying spiders, you need to be unflappable!

Good Career Opportunities, Very High Cost of Living

Similarly, the region performs very well in the Working Abroad Index, with Australia ranking 10th and New Zealand coming in 4th out of 67. Career prospects are considered satisfactory in both countries, with 67% of expats in Australia and 70% in New Zealand rating them positively.

Work-life balance here is excellent, with 71% of respondents in Australia agreeing they have a good work-life balance and 79% saying the same about New Zealand. The worldwide average is only 60%. Furthermore, expats in these countries work an average 38.6 hours a week, compared to the global average of 41.4 hours.

Expats in Australia are slightly more apprehensive about losing their job than expats in New Zealand: around 59% in the former judge their job security positively, while 76% in the latter give it favorable ratings. However, Australia doesn’t perform worse than the global average of 56%.

So far, expat life here seems to be a paradise; but the downside comes in the Personal Finance Index, where Australia ranks 51st and New Zealand comes 44th out of 67. In fact, 10% of expats in Australia say their disposable income is not nearly enough, compared to 3% in New Zealand: the survey respondents confirm the fact that life in Australia is rather expensive.

Finally, more than half the expats in Australia (52%) are unhappy with the cost of living, while 43% say the same in New Zealand. Both countries do badly compared to the global average of 32%.

Family Life Is Easier Down Under

Unfortunately, too few expat parents living in New Zealand participated in the survey this year, which is why only Australia makes an appearance in the 2016 Family Life Index.

Australia is ranked 7th out of 45 in the Family Life Index, and it performs well in most subcategories. For example, only 2% of expats disagree with the statement that education options are numerous and widely available, compared to a staggering 31% worldwide.

Furthermore, education is deemed easy to afford by 64% of expats, compared to 45% globally. The quality of education is also appreciated by an impressive 84% of respondents, while only 64% rate it positively around the world.

Finally, nearly half of the expat parents in Australia (49%) are very satisfied with their children’s health, compared to 30% worldwide; another 90% of them are happy with the overall safety of their kids, a good performance compared to the 75% who say the same around the globe.

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