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Australia

Are you better off in Oz or back in Britain?

More than 1.2 million British citizens call Australia home out of a total population of 23 million and the annual numbers of Brits migrating to these shores keep rising. In 2010, 64,000 of us moved down under, up from 48,000 in 1992.

Our love affair with the lucky country looks set to continue. We come here in search of the lifestyle. We come here in search of greater job opportunities and bigger houses. We come here in search of fantastic year-round weather and pristine surf beaches.

We land on these shores looking for an improved quality of life and wellbeing but is it a long-term move for the better or would we actually do well staying back in the UK?

Both countries have much to offer in a range of areas so I’ve handpicked the four key factors that might influence a decision to move to Oz or make you decide to stay at home.

 

Economy

Australia’s economy fared well in the global financial crisis and recession was a word associated with countries further afield. The UK struggled and recovered then struggled again. There are now signs of recovery in Britain but, when it comes to vital statistics such as GDP growth, house price increases and employment rates, the UK still lags behind Australia.

Standard of Living

The cost of living in Australia is one of the world’s highest and you won’t find many Brits heading here for cheap beer, clothing or groceries alone. Eating out in Australia costs more than the UK – about 15% more. However, when comparing London to Sydney, London is more expensive. A meal for two in the local pub in London would cost over 11% more than it would in Sydney and a ticket to see the latest movie would cost 8.5% more in London.

Weather

The weather is undoubtedly one of the main reasons that Brits flock to Australian shores in large numbers and it’s not hard to see why. Sydney’s average summer temperature reaches 26 degrees while London’s temps stutter at 15 degrees. In terms of sunshine per year, Sydney has almost double the number of sunny days as London but, surprisingly, more rainfall.

Quality of Life

In 2013’s Better Life Index, Australia was ranked the world’s happiest nation among developed countries for the third year running (the UK was tenth) and Sydney consistently appears in the top ten cities to live in according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Report (British cities appear further down the list). For wellbeing, it’s apparent that Australia scores well while the UK still has room for improvement.

Across these four key indicators, Australia comes out on top and the UK doesn’t fare as well, but is it as simple as this when choosing to live abroad or are there other things to take into account?

Surveys and indicators are all well and good but there are certain criteria for living abroad that no survey can give you – gut feeling and a sense of contentment.

Ask yourself if you like the idea of living here? Do you think you’ll enjoy your free time? Can you see yourself staying longer-term living this kind of life?

Every day, we’re bamboozled with reports telling us which countries are safest, cheapest and happiest to live in when really it comes down to one thing: personal choice.

If you feel connected to a place and at peace with your decision, then you stand a good chance of enjoying your life there.

Russell is a British expat living on Sydney’s Northern Beaches where he writes about his search for a life less ordinary at www.insearchofalifelessordinary.com, one of Australia’s leading expat and travel blogs.

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