Where Would You Move if You Could Work From Anywhere?
Business Insider declared Portugal the new California recently, with many people moving there to work remotely at their jobs elsewhere.
Business Insider declared Portugal the new California recently, with many people moving there to work remotely at their jobs elsewhere. But Portugal is not the only country opening their borders for “digital nomads”. Many countries are now offering digital nomad visas or investing in initiatives that make them more attractive to international migration.
We identify digital nomads as people who moved across country borders and work jobs outside their country of residence. Listing the most popular destinations for digital nomads in 2021 and 2022, we see that more and more people are hopping on the digital nomad train. Countries in Europe and the United Arab Emirates receive the most nomads.
Naturally, some countries may be better suited, or a better "deal" for digital nomads than others. On the one hand, the cost of living of the country, especially compared to the country of origin, plays an important role. On the other hand, digital nomads also care about the quality of life in their host country, which includes internet infrastructure or safety.
Unsurprisingly, there is a trade-off between affordability and quality of life. The plot shows why Lisbon has been such a popular destination: it offers a positive increase to the quality of life and is more affordable compared to the nomads’ countries of origin!
To look at what the long-term plans of digital nomads are, we can track the whereabouts of people who became digital nomads in 2021. For most destinations, only a minority of digital nomads actually start settling in this new country, with some digital nomads returning back to their source countries. Interestingly, most digital nomads neither settle nor return within a year of moving. This could include going to a completely different place for a while, which is not surprising given that one of the motivations for digital nomads is moving around from place to place.
Who packs their bags and moves to sunny Portugal then? A look at the most common remote suitable occupations among digital nomads shows that it's mostly software engineers, product managers and sales associates who can do this.
- Germany, UAE, and Spain are the leaders in welcoming digital nomads.
- Digital nomads face trade-offs in their quality of life and affordability across locations, but Portugal and Spain seem to offer the best opportunities.
- Most digital nomads follow alternative routes after moving, rather than settling in the new country or returning to their original location.