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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Friends, Sun, but Few Career Opportunities in Spain

Spain is a welcoming country for expats and their families, but its economy is plodding along.
  • One-quarter very happy with life there
  • Easy to settle in and make new friends
  • Healthcare is affordable and of high quality
  • Families with children are welcomed
  • Career prospects and economy viewed unfavorably

Expat Statistics 2016

Expat Statistics for Spain — infographic

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Making Expats Happy

Expat life in Spain might have its shortcomings, but a broad majority of expats (92%) claim to be overall satisfied with their life there. One-quarter of the respondents even say they are very satisfied as opposed to the global average of 15%. Indeed, Spain proudly ranks 10th out of 67 in the Personal Happiness subcategory and 14th in the overall country ranking.

The good weather in Spain seems to play a role here: 84% of respondents say they thought about this factor as a potential benefit before moving there. In addition, available leisure activities are considered to be very good by nearly half the expats (47%) as opposed to the global average of 30%.

“I love the warmth of both the people and the climate! Money isn’t the main goal in life, and there is more focus on health and happiness.”

Finding Amigos in Spain

Once in Spain, it is not hard to feel welcome and make friends, at least according to the respondents. Close to three-quarters (74%) agree that it is generally easy to settle down compared to the global average of 59%, a factor that has helped Spain reach fifth place in the Feeling Welcome subcategory of the Ease of Settling In Index. The country also ranks twelfth in the Friendliness subcategory, with 86% of expats saying the general friendliness of the population is overall good. More than two-fifths (42%) even consider it excellent! What is more, Spain ranks 14th in the Finding Friends subcategory, confirming once more the warmth of the local population.

Affordable and Good Healthcare

When it comes to health in Spain, the results are not bad either. Spain ranks tenth in the Health & Well-Being subcategory of the Quality of Life Index, thanks to various factors. For instance, 34% of respondents consider healthcare to be of excellent quality, while 39% claim it is also very easily affordable (opposed to global averages of 23% and 21%, respectively). Children’s health is also rated positively in Spain: none of the expat parents consider it very bad and only 3% give it an overall negative rating, as opposed to the global average of 12%.

Bringing Your Family with You Is a Good Idea

Spain in general is not a bad destination for expat families. It ranks 26th out of 45 countries in the Family Life Index and scores well in different areas. To start with, around four in seven expat parents generally agree that education options are numerous (58%) and easy to afford (56%). Childcare is also considered easy to afford, given that only 15% of the parents in Spain — compared to 34% worldwide — do not agree with this statement. When it comes to a friendly attitude towards families with children, slightly more than half of expat parents evaluate it as excellent as opposed to 39% around the globe. The only bitter note is that the quality of education is considered very good by just 11% of parents, compared to the global average of 21%.

The Downside: The Spanish Economy

All in all, Spain seems to do well for itself in many areas. This ends, however, when it comes to working and finance. This is likely linked to the economic crises which led to an economic recession in 2008–13. While there are signs that the Spanish economy is slowly recovering, only 42% of respondents feel overall positive about their career prospects in the country. This is a significantly lower percentage than the overall average of 55%. The state of the economy is also considered unfavorable by over two-fifths of the respondents in Spain (41%). Consequently, Spain did not score well in the Job Security subcategory, ranking 55th out of 67 countries.

“Due to the economic crisis, there aren’t many job opportunities for qualified people.”

Spain also only ranks 46th in the Personal Finance Index, despite 76% of the respondents there evaluating the cost of living in Spain positively. However, only 5% of the expats in Spain claim that their disposable household income is a lot more than enough to cover everything they need, as opposed to the global average of 10%. And close to one in five (19%) is overall dissatisfied with their financial situation.

Further Reading