US Tops the List of Retirement Destinations for British Expats

New research indicates that Brits who retire abroad are ditching the traditional favorite retirement destinations of Spain, France, Portugal and Greece in favor of the US, Australia and Canada.

The research, which was conducted by, a visa application website, revealed that for the 1,500 British citizens surveyed, European destinations like Spain have fallen down the list of preferred retirement destinations.

The results of the study indicate that only 23% of potential overseas retirees would now choose Spain, compared with 33% a year ago. The fall in rankings has been attributed to the country’s soaring debt and unemployment levels. Furthermore, the weakening value of the pound against the euro has also deterred UK expats from other popular retirement destinations such as France, Portugal and Greece, with Greece disappearing from the top ten target retirement destinations altogether.

The new retirement destinations of choice for British expats are the US, Australia and Canada, all of which are now emerging from the global financial crisis and therefore offer retirees a more secure residential base. Discussing the results of the survey, Gary Smith, of, said: “With the British climate notoriously unpredictable and the economic output seemingly as reliable as the weather, some people see living abroad as the better option.

“The credit crunch stung a lot of expats living within Europe, which seems to have influenced some people’s decisions as the wider world now seems more appealing.”

Top Expat Retirement Destinations 2013

Position Country % preference
1 US 31%
2 Australia 27%
3 Canada 24%
4 Spain 23%
5 New Zealand 18%
6 France 15%
7 Turkey 12%
8 Portugal 11%
9 United Arab Emirates 9%
10 Germany 8%

If you’re considering retiring abroad, make sure you research your options fully in advance. Our expat relocation guides contain comprehensive information about living in popular retirement destinations such as SydneyToronto and Vancover and contain everything you need to know about setting up home in an overseas destination.