Fewer Western expats moving to Thailand – study

Fewer western expats are moving to Thailand, and many already living there are leaving the country, a new study shows.

A bi-yearly survey carried out by Thaivisa found that there are fewer western expats arriving in Thailand than ever before and a significant number of working expats under 60 years have now left Thailand. This has been driven by financial pressures due to earning less money from declining business in Thailand.

Every two years since 2014, Thaivisa has conducted a survey on western expats living in Thailand. In 2016, when asked ‘Are you happier than when you first arrived?’ 39 per cent said they were not. Forty-four per cent of these unhappy respondents were working expats who cited financial pressures as the reason for their unhappiness.

Two years on, and Thaivisa says that many of these expats have now left the country with fewer arriving to replace them.

However, these is a feeling that those western expats who are still living in the country are generally happy to be there.

In 2016, when asked ‘Have you considered leaving Thailand over the last 12 months?’ 66 per cent said yes. In this year’s survey only 34 per cent said they have considered leaving Thailand in the last 12 months.

In terms of budget, one in four have a monthly budget of between 25,000 and 45,000 baht (approximately £582-£1,047) a month. Although almost half (48 per cent) have monthly budgets of over 65,000-baht (approx. £1,512) a month, with one in ten having over 145,000 (approx. £3,374) baht to spend.

A huge 75 per cent of expats say they own a car, while one in two own a house or villa, and one in five owning a condo.

Bangkok and Pattaya continue to be the top two locations for western expats, accounting for 41 per cent overall. Notable other areas include Chiang Mai (13 per cent, Phuket/Krabi (8 per cent) and Hua Hin (6 per cent). There has been no real shift in where expats settle over the last 4 years.

Bangkok remains strong for working expats with 51 per cent and a much younger demographic therefore seen here, with 38 per cent under 50 years old.

Article published 8th August 2018