Five Top European States Young Americans Are Thriving

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Despite the current economic climate, and the eye-watering cost of living that has already affected millions of American households, a portion of younger adults are still finding it manageable to thrive financially even as financial anxiety persists.

It’s not completely possible to ignore the major economic headwinds many Americans have experienced throughout the year.

Skyrocketing inflation has sent consumer prices soaring, leaving consumers baffled over whether they will be able to cope with the increasing cost of living.

In June 2022, the Consumer Price Index hit a red-hot 9.1%, the highest recorded in more than four decades.

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During the same time inflation was sending warning signs across the economy, motorists were paying on average $4.96 per gallon of regular gas, in some places such as California, gas prices hit a staggering $6.39 per gallon.

Fortunately, since then, gas prices have substantially come down in recent months, but have seen going up by a couple of cents in the last few weeks.

Pricier goods and expensive gas isn’t the only thing that’s been hurting American households. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) recently hiked its prime interest rate by another 75 basis points, marking the highest interest rates have climbed since the financial crisis back in 2007.

Jerome Powell, Chair of the FOMC commented that the Federal Reserve will continue to increase the cost of borrowing until they have managed to push inflation down to its target 2% range.

The aggressive rate hikes have been a major headwind for not just more financially secure adults, but more so for the younger generations of Americans who were hoping to purchase their first or second home this year.

On the back of this, recent indicators have also revealed that the median rental price has also jumped by 4.8% in the past year. Increased consumer demand as people returned to cities, and higher operating costs have sent rental prices spiraling in the last few months.

A Redfin rental report from May 2022 revealed that the median price rental price in the country surpassed the $2000 per month threshold for the first time, with the outlook showing possibilities of further increases in the near future.

Americans, young and old are paying more for nearly everything these days, and it’s likely to remain this way for the next few years.

As economic conditions uncontrollably deteriorate faster than experts predicted, younger Americans are finding it easier and more affordable to relocate abroad in the hopes of enjoying a more affordable lifestyle.

While there are several top countries Americans are considering moving to, for many millennials in the U.S. allied European nations are providing them with more attractive jobs and financial opportunities.

Recent statistics indicate that among non-European citizens that currently reside within the European Union (EU) 17% relocated for work purposes, 3% for education, and 39% for family-related reasons. Although there is no direct indication of how many of these non-EU citizens were American-born, it, however, paints a vivid picture of how European nations are allowing migrants better opportunities economically.

Where in Europe Are Millennials Thriving?

While there are countless well-known cities in the U.S.that can offer millennials a place to call home, many are choosing EU nations that allow them an affordable cost of living, financial security, and access to affordable housing.

The onset of remote working and work-from-home jobs has only further pivoted many to consider moving abroad. While the odds may be stacked against them in a foreign country, the stronger dollar to Euro is also slightly helping play more in their favor as they settle abroad.

On top of that, some of these countries on our list have favorable tax regulations, and overall can offer a better quality of life, something which many younger Americans are seeking amid the cost of living crisis.

Let’s see which European states are the top places where young Americans are thriving.


For decades Switzerland has topped many lists as one of the most livable countries in the world, offering citizens a high quality of life and first-rate public services.

While Switzerland isn’t part of the European Union, it still offers a unique European experience like no other with its picturesque scenery, and easy access to neighboring countries including Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and Liechtenstein.

Popular cities for expats include Basel, Lausanne, and Zurich, which have been found to be among the best-performing hubs for political stability and urban development.

While expats can enjoy better education and healthcare services often subsidized by the government, the cost of living is still more than what the average American could afford. Despite this financial challenge, the multicultural and diverse cities give American millennials a better opportunity to settle and perhaps start a family.


As one of the smaller Western European states, Portugal has been ranked 48th among the 50 major economies in the world. The country has been slowly rebuilding its economy after experiencing major downturns during the first half of the 21st century, and in 2021, inflation was around 1.27%, while the U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) registered a 4.7% inflation rate.

Like other countries across the world that currently offer remote workers a chance at applying for an Expat Visa, a similar visa allows expats to apply and reside within the country for up to two years. The program allows expats to apply for permanent residency within five years of living in the country, making it one of the easiest routes to European citizenship.

Although the country has a lot to offer in terms of public services, such as affordable healthcare and education, the COVID-19 pandemic saw an additional 400,000 Portuguese residents being impoverished due to financial uncertainty.

Although there are some challenges that the country will still need to resolve in the coming years, it’s undoubtedly one of the more affordable EU nations which have captured the attention of millennial expats.


Although Iceland is not considered one of the most affordable countries in the world, the country has a lot to offer its residents in terms of public services and recreational attractions.

The Nordic nation, which is also known as the land of Fire and Ice, partially due to its active volcanoes, and snow-topped mountain ranges has attracted a small community of expats who are able to afford their way around.

Most recent figures revealed that in January 2020, roughly 15.2% of the country’s population was made up of legal immigrants and expats. While the country has a small population of just under 400,000, in recent times it’s become a lot more expat-friendly due to the free movement of people coming from continental Europe and other developed nations.

If universal state-sponsored healthcare isn’t something that piques your interest, perhaps the 557 hiking trails, backpacking routes, and numerous camping sites will help decide to relocate a bit easier.

Large-scale remote working has also meant that since 2020, the country now offers working-from-home professionals the opportunity to legally reside in the country before having to re-apply for the right to remain.


Ranked as the fourth largest economy in the EU, and 14th globally, Spain has become an international hub for business, tourism, and expats looking to take advantage of the numerous economic benefits the country has to offer.

Aside from having a substantially developed economy, the country recently witnessed a surge in international firms being headquartered within its borders, seeing more than 14,600 foreign firms setting up their business in the last few years.

On top of this, foreign investors have also found that investment opportunities provide better and more lucrative financial well-being, as the government seeks to provide them with an innovative and progressive workforce.

Millennials who reside here enjoy affordable housing, among other economic benefits. There is also a well-functioning healthcare system, and most recent government efforts have seen the country move to improve its tax regulations to attract middle-tier working professionals.


Being one of the largest and most progressive economies in the European Union, Germany has ample to offer its residents including universal healthcare, tuition-free schools, and some of the best public transportation the continent has to offer.

Industry is one of the country’s strongholds, including automotive, mechanical engineering, chemical, and electrical industries.

Like other countries around the world, Germany has been struggling to control soaring inflation which hit a piping hot 10% in September. In an effort to control the rampant running rate at which prices have been increasing, the government has unveiled a €200 billion plan to assist consumers in the fight against the cost of living crisis.

Although economic conditions have been tumultuous, the government has been actively working to control uncertainty for residents.

The country has a strong workforce and offers ample job opportunities for those in their respective professional fields.

If you’re lucky enough to obtain a work or residence permit, it’s definitely worth the effort as many expats have found.

The Changing Tide

On the bright side, it’s starting to look as if consumers are changing their sentiment in terms of current economic conditions. Recent preliminary data compiled by the University of Michigan showed that the consumer sentiment index increased from 58.2 in August, to 59.5 for the first half of September.

While a marginal increment, it remains higher than the 50 recorded in June of this year when the economy started to erode on itself.

Although it may still take some time before conditions improve, there is a small enclave of Americans who have been able to thrive in current conditions, as these states not only offer better paying jobs with higher wages, but also a more affordable cost of living.

Making a living as an American millennial means that a majority of jobs now offer more competitive salaries, work benefits, and the possibility of working from home or remotely.

Although this sounds enticing, millennials are still found to be the most in debt generation in the country, as nearly 73% of them have some form of non-mortgage debt, with the average millennial owing close to $117,000.

The high amounts of debt have only further burdened many younger millennials, making it harder for them to properly save for retirement, or put money aside for bigger ventures such as buying a house or property.

Again, it comes to show that although millennials may be in a comfortable financial position to some extent, they’re still carrying major debt burdens that will take decades to finish repaying.

The Bottom Line

While countless factors have made the financial outlook increasingly challenging for millions of Americans, it’s clear that some countries offer them an opportunity to thrive under the current economic climate.

With better-paying jobs, booming industries, and evergreen tax provisions, several foreign countries are allowing residents to enjoy a better quality of life even as the cost of living has sent shockwaves across the world.

In due time, these and other nations may look to make dramatic changes to the way they attract and retain younger and more skilled workers to help uplift the local economy.

Although this may take some time before successfully initiated, it just comes to show that younger Americans are continuously looking for better and more lucrative opportunities, even if this means they need to relocate to a different country.

Perhaps this is all temporary, but the future outlook is presenting itself in a completely different way, leaving many young Americans to seek out new ventures that provide them with the financial and social security their older counterparts enjoyed in the decades before.