According to two of the most comprehensive annual surveys of expats worldwide, Bahrain is the world’s most popular destination. The Expat Insider 2017 survey scored Bahrain particularly highly as being a welcoming nation for new arrivals and a great location for families. Although Bahrain has normally been among the top-twenty nations in Expat Insider surveys and similar polls, this year Bahrain soared into the top place.

Explaining Bahrain’s strong showing, Expat Insider stated: “Improvements across all indices that factor into the ranking have seen the Gulf state take pole position in 2017”.

The 2017 survey of thousands of expats around the world by the InterNations network also put Bahrain in the top position, with Bahrain scoring highly for cost of living, and being recognized for its “welcoming atmosphere, friendliness of locals and good wages”, being described as the “friendliest country in the world for expats”.

Here we look at the reasons why Bahrain is best in the world:

A warm welcome

Bahrain scored highest in the world for “Ease of Settling In”. Bahrain was sixth for Finding Friends and ninth worldwide for Friendliness.

According to Expat Insider: “Bahrain really excels in making expats feel at home”. This is particularly valued given that a remarkable 33% of Bahrain’s expat population had never lived abroad before they came to the Kingdom.


Bahrain scored second in the world for Personal Happiness. Nine out of ten expats surveyed by Expat Insider said that they were happy with their lives in Bahrain.

“Its home away from home. The locals are very friendly and helpful;” Filipino expat talking about Bahrain,

Expat Insider commented: “With such glowing reviews, it’s no surprise that almost a third of expats (32%) see themselves staying in Bahrain for more than five years, and 11% say they might stay forever.”

No language barrier

One important thing for expats is that most Bahrainis speak excellent English, so there are no problems being understood. This is particularly valuable in a crisis, because expats can easily seek help from locals able to understand their problem and help them out.

As one respondent stated: “Bahrainis are very friendly and welcoming. Everyone speaks English”. 76% of expats completely agree that it’s extremely easy to live in Bahrain without learning Arabic.

Great career prospects

Bahrain is the top country in the world for working expat women – demonstrating how far the Kingdom has come in encouraging women to take their role in the workplace.

Bahrain ranked third globally in the Working Abroad Index, signifying excellent career prospects and a positive professional environment. The Kingdom scored second in the world for “Work-Life Balance”, showing how easily expats could excel in their careers, while also having plenty of family time.

Family friendly

Bahrain scored very highly among expats as a place to work and raise a family – scoring top in the world for Family Life, and fourth for “friendly attitude towards kids”. The result is that many expats who work in neighbouring states choose to base their families in Bahrain.

Bahrain also scored third in the world for encouraging a close relationship romantic with their partner of choice.

Best for education

“Our children are receiving a high quality of education and exposure to a variety of cultures, nationalities and backgrounds;” expat respondent.

In 2017, Bahrain soared from 22nd place to 6th place for quality of education, with a comparable improvement (32nd – 11th place) for quality of childcare.

Beautiful melting pot of cultures

78% of respondents said it’s easy to get used to the local culture and quickly feel at home.

“Bahrain is a beautiful melting pot of many different cultures;” one respondent explained.

Costs of living

Although costs of living have risen in all GCC states as a result of subsidy reforms; Bahrain continued to score highly as a destination for excellent value cost of living, where expats can eat out cheaply, enjoy good value housing, and find great deals in the Kingdom’s many malls.

Bahrain also jumped 13 places (to the 13th spot) for Personal Finances. Not having to pay tax was seen as a huge advantage.

Bahrain scored 5th in the world for helping expats improve their personal income. 41% of expats say they can earn a lot more in Bahrain than they would back at home; with 68% expressing satisfaction with their financial positions in Bahrain.

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