Moving abroad: countries people want to live in and why

Research shows that one country rules them all when it comes to relocating

TORONTO, ONTARIO - OCTOBER 23: The moon rises behind the CN Tower and skyline in Toronto on October 23, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

"How do I move abroad?" Since January 2020, there has been a 29 per cent increase in global Google searches for this question, and you do not need Hercule Poirot to uncover why.

While athlete's foot may not be a known symptom of Covid-19, the pandemic has given large numbers of people itchy feet.

The trend prompted FinTech company Remitly to research the most popular relocation destinations of people from 101 countries around the world.

The company's number crunchers and analysts pored over average monthly search volumes for phrases commonly associated with researching a move overseas.

By ranking them with the most-searched-for location in each country, they were able to see which came out on top.

Why do people want to live and work in Canada?

It may not be too much of a surprise that Canada heads the list. Everyone knows someone who has moved to Canada.

The Great White North is renowned as one of the safest places in the world. It also has low employment rates and a high number of immigration options.

Canada has stunning scenery and a population blessed with relentless cheeriness.

Distant runner-up in the list, Japan, is a hotbed of culture and technological innovation, so its popularity is also expected.

More surprising are the lowly positions of the US and the UK.

Britain's divisive leadership, coronavirus mishandling and Brexit uncertainty would have suppressed some of the interest in moving there.

Where do Europeans want to move?

In European countries, the most popular relocation destination is Germany, which topped the list for eight countries on the continent.

Benefits include its excellent universal healthcare system, a thriving economy, fantastic public transport, low crime rates, clean environment and excellent job opportunities.

Canada is still the second most popular choice, with five European countries, including France and Belgium, listing it as their top pick.

Where do Central, North and South Americans want to move?

Traditional rivalry with Canada was set aside by North and Central American countries, as it proved to be their preferred location.

The US and Canada picked Japan as their destination of choice.

South Americans went for Spain, with Portugal the only other choice.

Where do Asians, Africans and Australasians want to live?

There seems to be more of a location-based split in the Asian countries.

South-East Asians are mostly interested in heading to Japan, making it the preferred option for the continent as a whole.

Canada notched another first place in Africa, while those in Oceania showed parochialism, with New Zealand and Fiji choosing each other as their top picks.

Australia set its sights a little farther from home and opted for Japan too.