Close to one in ten (9%) expats in Vietnam say their gross income is more than 250k USD a year (vs. 3% globally), according to Expat Insider 2021 survey!
Three-quarters of expats in Vietnam (75%) say that their disposable household income is more than enough to cover everything they need for daily life (vs. 52% globally).
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The Personal Finance Index includes 59 destinations featured in the Expat Insider 2021 survey, each with a sample size of 50 respondents or more. This index covers two questions: “To which extent would you agree with the following statement? I’m satisfied with my financial situation.” and “Do you feel that your disposable household income is enough to cover everything you need for your daily life?”. The Cost of Living Index, which is also referenced in this article, reflects respondents’ satisfaction with the cost of living in their host country. Provided as additional information, the index does not factor into the overall country ranking.
Vietnam places 1st in the Personal Finance Index and the Cost of Living Index, even the country comes in 10th place out of 59 countries overall. The country has consistently ranked in the top 10 for both indices since 2014. Three-quarters of expats in Vietnam (75%) say that their disposable household income is more than enough to cover everything they need for daily life (vs. 52% globally). In fact, 90% say it is enough or more than enough (vs. 77% globally).
Close to one in ten (9%) expats in Vietnam also say their gross income is more than 250k USD a year (vs. 3% globally)!
With a share of 45%, expats in Vietnam are more likely than average to have moved there for job-related reasons (vs. 36% globally), which might be a reason for some of these higher incomes. But it surely also doesn’t hurt that 85% of respondents in Vietnam rate the cost of living favorably, 41% even very much so (vs. a global 48% and 14%, respectively). A US American expat states, “I like the cheap cost of living, friendly people, good food, relaxed atmosphere.” Still, 11% of expats in Vietnam say the current biggest personal impact of the pandemic is on their personal finances (vs. 8% globally).
“I like the cheap cost of living in Vietnam”.
Trends in the Top & Bottom 10
Four out of the top 10 countries in the Personal Finance Index are found in Latin America — Mexico (2nd), Colombia (3rd), Ecuador (5th), and Costa Rica (7th) — while first-ranked Vietnam is joined by fellow Asian destinations India (4th), China (6th), Malaysia (9th), and the Philippines (10th). Except for Romania (8th), no European or African countries have made it into the top 10.
Things look different at the other end of the ranking, though: five of the bottom 10 countries are found in Europe: Italy (59th), Cyprus (57th), the UK (53rd), Greece (52nd), and Malta (51st).
Where Costs Are Low/High
Vietnam (1st) has ranked in the top 5 of the Cost of Living Index since 2014; 85% of respondents rate the cost of living there favorably (vs. 48% globally). Over two in five (41%) even say it is very good, close to three times the global average of 14%.
With seven destinations, the majority of the top 10 of the Cost of Living Index 2021 are found in Latin America or Asia. The odd ones out are Ukraine (3rd), Hungary (8th), and Portugal (9th).
Finding Friends Is Easy, Learning the Language Is Hard
Placing 25th in the Ease of Settling In Index, Vietnam does especially well in the Finding Friends subcategory (9th). According to 63% of expats, making local friends is easy (vs. 44% globally), and 67% find it easy to make new friends in general (vs. 48% globally). In fact, more than a quarter of expats in Vietnam (26%) are mostly friends with local residents (vs. 20% globally), while another 45% have a mixed circle of friends and acquaintances that includes both locals and expats (vs. 48% globally). It might help that the majority of expats (81%) finds the local residents generally friendly (vs. 69% globally). However, another 81% consider it difficult to learn the local language — almost twice the global average of 42%. Perhaps this is why 39% of expats do not speak it at all, compared to 13% globally. A Canadian expat shares: “I do not like being unable to speak Vietnamese, but it is one of the hardest languages to learn.” At least, 72% of expats find it easy to live in Vietnam without local language skills (vs. 54% globally).
The Only Major Downside? The Quality of Life
Despite its great performance in the overall ranking, Vietnam ends up among the bottom 10 in the Quality of Life Index (53rd). More than three in five expats (63%) rate the air quality in Vietnam negatively (vs. 20% globally), and 42% are unhappy with the water and sanitation infrastructure (vs. 12% globally). A Swiss expat shares: “Plastic pollution is a major problem, especially along the coast.” Vietnam also performs poorly in the Digital Life subcategory (54th): half the expats (50%) rate the availability of government services online negatively (vs. 21% globally), and one in four (25%) finds it difficult to pay without cash (vs. 9% globally).But despite the poor performance for the quality of life, the majority of expats in Vietnam (85%) is still generally happy with their life (vs. 75% globally).
The Impact of COVID-19 on Expat Life in Vietnam
Close to one in three expats in Vietnam (31%) have decided not to move back home in the near future due to the pandemic (vs. 18% globally), while less than half (49%) say the pandemic has not affected the time they are planning to stay abroad (vs. 63% globally). Additionally, the majority of expats in Vietnam (79%) is satisfied with the official communication regarding COVID-19 and related regulations(vs. 66% globally). To stay up to date on COVID-19-related news, most survey respondents follow expat news and international media (45%), social media (43%), and official government channels (39%).
For the seventh time, InterNations, the world’s largest expat community with around 4 million members, has published its Expat Insider survey. With more than 12,000 respondents, it is one of the most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, sharing insights into expat life in 59 destinations. The survey offers in-depth information on expats’ satisfaction with the quality of life, ease of settling in, working life, personal finance, and the cost of living in their respective country of residence. Additionally, the respondents share how they have been experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has impacted their life.