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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Singapore: Classy Life in Southeast Asia

Ranking first in the Quality of Life Index, Singapore offers an outstanding standard of living, travel opportunities, and healthcare. These benefits cost accordingly, though.

Singapore, regarded as one of the "Four Asian Tigers" for its rapid economic growth in the later decades of the 20th century, provides an attractive choice for expats looking for high income and living standards. The small city-state also ranks fourth in terms of family well-being, third in regard to the quality of education, and sixth for health, safety, and well-being in general; the impressive results in these subcategories should guarantee that expat parents, too, are satisfied with life in Singapore.

Moving to Singapore is made easier by a welcoming atmosphere (ranked 7th in the Feeling Welcome subcategory) and four official languages, including English (3rd in the Language subcategory). The friendliness of the local population, however, is below average, ranking 47th, affording the country an overall good 21st position in the Ease of Settling In Index.

Expat Statistics 2015

Expat statistics for Singapore - infographic
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Top-Notch Transportation

Expats in Singapore do not have much to complain about regarding their living environment. Even though the city is one of the major commercial hubs in Asia and packed with people, an astonishing 71% of respondents in Singapore find the overall peacefulness to be very good, a score that only 39% of their global peers give to their corresponding host countries. The quality of the environment receives excellent grades, too, as 87% rate it positively compared to a global 64%.

Those living in Singapore can rest assured when it comes to security, as well: 90% of the survey participants in the country regard their personal safety to be very good while around the globe only 42% say the same. Also, not one expat in Singapore considers the political stability negatively.

The country also performs superbly when it comes to getting around, occupying first place in the Travel & Transport subcategory. Almost all of the respondents (99%) are pleased with the local transport infrastructure. Possibly because of Singapore's location in the heart of Southeast Asia, travel opportunities are equally excellent, being met with favorable reviews by 98% of respondents. The global averages are far less with 66% and 83%, respectively.

Escalated Living Expenses

All the benefits mentioned before have their downside, unfortunately, and that is the expensiveness of life in Singapore. Expats there are remarkably unhappy with their living costs: the majority (57%) rates them generally unfavorably, whereas worldwide only a third of respondents do the same.

On the other hand, incomes in Singapore also tend to be above the average. More than half of the participants (58%) access a gross household income of more than 75,000 USD per year, while globally only 35% make as much. One-sixth (17%) even say their annual household income is 200,000 USD or more. When considering the living costs in respect to the relatively high wages, it seems unsurprising that most expats in Singapore (82%) say their disposable income is about (or even more than) enough for their daily lives.

Better Be Diligent

High salaries are not paid for idling, though. Singapore stands out - arguably in a not-too-positive sense - in a comparison of weekly working hours, which are among the highest in the world, exceeding the average by almost four hours (45.9 vs. 42.0 hours/week). This might be one reason for the country's poor ranking in the Work-Life Balance subcategory (52nd out of 64 countries).

However, Singapore does well in the Job Security subcategory, where it is ranked the fifth best in the world; overall, most expats (62%) in the city-state are happy with their job security. Also, 65% rate the economy as very good.

Health and Education First

Singapore further offers high-quality facilities for children - provided their parents have the sufficient funds to pay for them. Especially education seems to be first-rate, with 83% of expat parents giving the quality of education an approving grade compared to a worldwide 65%. The affordability of education is met with less delight: 56% of parents generally disagree when asked whether education is easy to afford in Singapore.

The vast majority of expat parents in Singapore (93%) does, however, give the country a favorable score when it comes to their kids' health and safety, well over the global average of 76%. Another noteworthy result is that not a single expat parent was displeased with their children's general well-being in the country.

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