How many Brits live abroad?

How many British expats are there?

Whether you are looking to relax in a holiday home over summer or live abroad permanently, many Brits are choosing to buy homes overseas. We looked at the statistics to see which countries are the most popular for Brits looking to purchase property overseas. If you’re looking to buy a home abroad, be sure to read our comprehensive guide for everything you need to know.

Quick overview

  • A third of Brits living overseas choose to live in Australia or New Zealand.
  • 28% of Brits living abroad do so in the United States or Canada.
  • A quarter of Brits living overseas have settled down in Europe.
  • The most popular European country to live in is Spain, with 293,500 Brits living here.
  • 66% of Brits living abroad in the EU are of working age (16-64 years old).
  • 26% of Brits living abroad in the EU are over 65 years old, with the remaining 8% being under 15 years old.

Where are we living?

There are Brits living in countries all across the globe, but which destinations are the most popular? Moving “down under” to Australia or New Zealand is the most popular migration destination, with 33% of Brits living abroad doing so in these two countries. Home to 28% of Brits that have moved abroad, the United States and Canada make up the second most popular destinations. Lastly, countries within the EU account for 25.8% of UK migrants.

Location Proportion of all UK-born citizens living abroad
Australia and New Zealand 33%
United States of America and Canada 28%
EU 25.8%
All Asian countries 5.7%
All African countries 2.5%
Rest of the World 5%

Where in Europe are Brits living?

1 in 4 Brits living abroad are doing so in Europe, but which country is the most popular?

The overwhelming majority of Brits living in Europe do so in Spain, France and Germany. These three destinations account for 69% of British citizens living abroad in Europe. Spain is by far the most popular destination with 293,500 Brits living here – almost as much as the next three most popular destinations combined (294,700 total).

Location Number of British citizens resident in country
Spain 293,500
France 152,900
Germany 96,500
Netherlands 45,300
Other EU countries 196,700

Do more Brits emigrate to EU countries than other Europeans?

UN migrant stock data shows which countries migrants from each country choose to live in. This data shows that 25.8% of UK migrants live in another EU country – the lowest figure of all EU countries. In comparison, 56.8% of Spanish migrants emigrate to another EU country, while 49.1% of those in France and 43.8% of those in Germany do the same.

Explore the graphic and table below to see how different EU countries compare.

Country Proportion of EU migrants living in another EU country, by country of birth
Luxembourg 89.1%
Romania 86.9%
Slovakia 86.8%
Czech Republic 84.1%
Poland 78.3%
Finland 76.8%
Belgium 76.7%
Hungary 67%
Slovenia 65.8%
Lithuania 63.6%
Austria 62.7%
Cyprus 57.2%
Spain 56.8%
Portugal 52.1%
Sweden 52.5%
Denmark 52.7%
Latvia 52.5%
Netherlands 52.1%
Estonia 49.4%
France 49.1%
Italy 48.1%
Greece 45%
Bulgaria 44.3%
Germany 43.8%
Croatia 39.6%
Malta 33.6%
United Kingdom 25.8%

Who is living in the EU?

We looked at the latest statistics to see just who exactly is deciding to up sticks and move abroad to live in the EU.

  • 66% of Brits living in the EU are 16-64 years old (518,000).
  • 26% are aged 65 or over (207,300).
  • The remaining 8% are aged 15 or younger (59,600).
  • 41% of Brits living in Spain are aged 65 or over.
  • Meanwhile in Finland, only 8% of Brits are aged 65 or over, with 88% of British residents living in Finland being 16-64 years old.
Region 15 to 64 years 65 years and over Less than 15 years
Total 66% 26.4% 7.6%
Finland 88.2% 7.9% 3.9%
Czech Republic 86.8% 8% 5.1%
Estonia 86.1% 6% 7.9%
Sweden 82.8% 11.4% 5.8%
Poland 82.7% 8.6% 8.7%
Latvia 81.9% 11.1% 7%
Netherlands 81.7% 10.4% 7.8%
Romania 81.7% 13.6% 4.7%
Hungary 80.9% 11.7% 7.4%
Denmark 80.1% 12.9% 7%
Slovakia 79.7% 7.2% 13.1%
Lithuania 79.4% 14.2% 6.4%
Germany 79.2% 15.5% 5.3%
Austria 76.2% 12.8% 11%
Luxembourg 75.8% 7.1% 17.1%
Greece 75.3% 19.5% 5.3%
Croatia 74.5% 12.1% 13.4%
Belgium 73.4% 14.2% 12.4%
Italy 73.4% 20.8% 5.9%
Slovenia 68.5% 22.5% 9%
France 67.6% 19.2% 13.2%
Cyprus 61.7% 30.8% 7.5%
Malta 61.7% 32.4% 5.9%
Bulgaria 61.7% 35% 3.3%
Portugal 55.9% 38.8% 5.3%
Spain 53.9% 40.7% 5.5%

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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