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Wave your boss goodbye.
FREE AGENT

Hong Kong is ranked the best place to live if you want to be your own boss

By Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz

Despite the risks of working without the safety net of a full-time employer, free agents are expected to comprise as much of the workforce as formal employees by 2020. Anticipating this, over 80% of large corporations plan to expand the use of freelancers (pdf) over the next few years.

But a new report by Expert Market, a UK-based comparison shopping service for businesses, shows that some countries are better for digital nomads than others. Analyzing eight key economic and lifestyle factors in 57 countries across the globe (chosen based on available data and cross-referenced against GDP figures), the report ranks the best and worst places for free agents to live. The factors were chosen based on how they would affect a freelance worker’s quality of life, and include cost of living, individual income tax, access to credit, average internet speed, transport networks, free wifi availability, cost of a coffee, and overall ease of starting a business.

Here are Expert Market’s top 10 best places to live if you want to be your own boss:

Place Rank
Hong Kong 1
United States 2
South Korea 3
United Arab Emirates 4
United Kingdom 5
Spain 6
New Zealand 7
Estonia 8
Bulgaria 9
Czech Republic 10

Hong Kong topped the list with high marks for having the best transportation system, second-best access to credit, and one of the three lowest income tax rates. Europe won overall best continent for the self-employed, while South America ranked as the worst, with weak scores for transportation, internet availability, and ease of starting a business.

Here’s the full list:

Place Rank
Hong Kong 1
United States 2
South Korea 3
United Arab Emirates 4
United Kingdom 5
Spain 6
New Zealand 7
Estonia 8
Bulgaria 9
Czech Republic 10
Latvia 11
France 12
Portugal 13
Lithuania 14
Qatar 15
Denmark 16
Switzerland 17
Germany 18
Turkey 19
Norway 20
Romania 21
Saudi Arabia 22
China 23
Netherlands 24
Poland 25
Australia 26
Sweden 27
Hungary 28
Finland 29
Mexico 30
Japan 31
Cyprus 32
Chile 33
Panama 34
South Africa 35
Italy 36
Morocco 37
Indonesia 38
Iceland 39
India 40
Croatia 41
Egypt 42
Austria 43
Colombia 44
Brazil 45
Greece 46
Malta 47
Peru 48
Belgium 49
Ireland 50
Costa Rica 51
Slovenia 52
Ecuador 53
Philippines 54
Israel 55
Argentina 56
Uruguay 57

Sources: Numbeo, KPMG, The World Bank, Akamai, World Economic Forum, Wifimap