expat network

Top 10 Countries Brits Are Moving To

It’s estimated that over half a million Brits left the UK in 2023, there are a plethora of reasons for moving from the UK, including cost of living, change of lifestyle, work, education, etc. but where are the most popular places for Brits to move to? International removals comparison website, Compare My Move, has put together a report on the most popular places for Brits to move to, and why these places are so popular.

Below is a table of the most popular countries to move to from the UK, and the percentage of international movers that move there.

RankCountryPercentage of Movers
2United States13.6%
7United Arab Emirates4.0%
8New Zealand3.8%

1. Spain

Spain was the most popular place for Brits to move to in the last year, with 14.1% of people leaving the UK, moving to Spain. Spain is very expat friendly, with places such as the Costa Del Sol and Malaga being known for their number of British expats. With warmer weather and a lower average cost of living, it’s no surprise that Spain is consistently one of the most popular places to move to for Brits. 

Some cities and towns in Spain are more popular than others. Below is a table of the most popular cities in Spain amongst British movers and the percentage of Spanish expats moving to those cities.

RankCityPercentage of Movers

As well as the ex-pat-heavy places, the most popular places to move to in Spain are Barcelona and Madrid, two of the country’s biggest cities and cultural hubs in Europe. Barcelona tops Madrid by 0.5% to be the most popular city for British movers to Spain despite Madrid being the larger city and the country’s capital. 

Alicante and Málaga also make the top 4 with around the same percentage of movers, these places have a large expat community and being in the south of Spain get some of the best weather in Spain adding to their popularity. 

2. United States

The second most popular place to move from the UK and the most popular place to move to outside of Europe was the United States of America, with 13.6% of people leaving the UK, moving to the States. The USA has a lot of cultural overlap with the UK with a lot of the media we consume being either from or broadcast in the USA, and of course, both countries’ primary language is English, meaning it is easy to integrate into the country when moving there.

Below we have the most popular states to move to from the UK. 

RankStatePercentage of Movers
2New York13.5%

California is the most popular state to move to in the US, with 16.6% of movers from the UK ending up on the West Coast. The most popular city to move to in California is Los Angeles, which also comes in as the second most popular city to move to in the US.

The most popular city to move to in the US is New York City, which is a big reason why New York State is such a popular destination for British movers, with 13.5% of movers going to New York State in the last year.

3. Australia

Similar to the USA, Australia also primarily speak English and has a cultural overlap with the UK, and because of this, it is the third most popular place to move from the UK, with 11.2% of people leaving the UK, going to Australia. Australia is also looking for over half a million new workers across multiple industries, and because of this has reviewed its visa system and are more welcoming to workers from the UK.

Below is a list of the most popular cities that Brits choose to move to in Australia, with the percentage of Brits who move there.

RankCityPercentage of Movers

Sydney just edges Perth as the most popular city for Brits to move to when moving to Australia, with Sydney seeing 0.2% more movers than Perth. However, Sydney has a population of 5.5 million, which is around 3.2 million more than Perth, when this is taken into account, the amount of Brits moving to Perth compared to the population will be way more than Brits moving to Sydney.

The Most Popular Continents to Move to

Although The United States of America and Australia took a combined 24.8% of British movers abroad, Europe still ranked first with a majority of people moving from the UK, moving to Europe.

RankContinentPercentage of Movers
2North America17.4%
4Middle East5.1%
7South America0.4%

Over 55% of Brits leaving the UK moved to Europe in the last year, which is no surprise, with Spain, France, Italy, Ireland and Germany being in the top 10 countries in which Brits have moved and mainland Europe is the closest destination by distance for emigrating Brits. The United States carries the North American continent to second place with Canada helping out this percentage by being the 10th most popular country for Brits to move to. 

Australia and New Zealand continue to be popular destinations and therefore put Oceania into third place as the most popular continent to move to from the UK. 5.1% of Brits are moving to the Middle East, making it the 4th most popular place to move, this is mainly due to the United Arab Emirates being so popular amongst UK movers, coming in as the 7th most popular country to move. This is mainly because Dubai is the most popular city to move to among British movers, driving the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East up the popularity scores. 

How Will International Movers Change in 2024?

We asked Dave Sayce, the founder and managing director of Compare My Move how the moving trends of Brits moving abroad will change in 2024. 

“We expect Spain to stay a popular destination for British movers throughout 2024, possibly even growing in popularity due to the stagnant mortgage rates in the UK and the mortgage interest rates in Spain being around 2% lower than the UK. While the USA will still be very popular due to the cultural similarities between the UK and the States, the uncertainty of the election outcome could see fewer people planning a move there for fear of any change in immigration laws. 

I’d also expect the United Arab Emirates and Dubai to do well this year, continuing their increase in popularity. Throughout the top 10 places to move to abroad, I think the number of movers will increase as more and more people look to living abroad as an option.”