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Canada has one of the highest number of citizens that leave for overseas opportunities. Here is where they go and why:

1.  United States

Canadian expats: 1.1 million

Income tax rate: 0-35 per cent
Avg. home price: $166,500
Unemployment rate: 9.7 per cent
Avg. household disposable income/year: $31,111

There are plenty of reasons Canadians flee to the U.S.: family, job relocation, a better salary. But while, culture-wise, the U.S. may be the most familiar nation to Canada, Canucks heading south of the border had better be prepared to work. According to the OECD, the average American works nearly 37 hours per week based on a 50-week work year, or about three hours more per week than Canadians spend on the job.

2.  Hong Kong

Canadian expats: 300,000

Income tax rate: 0-17 per cent
Avg. home price: $330,000
Unemployment rate: 4.3 per cent
Avg. household disposable income/year: N/A

Hong Kong, as a global financial hub, is a major draw to aspiring bankers and Canadian executives. Though, as is often the case in such glitzy, big-money markets, the price of owning a home is astronomical. According to consulting firm Demographia, the median home price in Hong Kong is about $330,000, or more than 11 times the city-state's average salary. By that measure, Demographia says, Hong Kong real estate is the least affordable in the world.

3.  United Kingdom

Canadian expats: 73,000

Income tax rate: 0-50 per cent
Avg. home price: $260,000
Unemployment rate: 7.9 per cent
Avg. household disposable income/year: $25,363

If we exclude our neighbours to the south, there may be no country on earth more ... how do we say ... natural for Canadian ex-pats to live; British culture shares many traits with our own. Yet, what's well known about life in the U.K. is how much it costs. Buying a home in the greater London area, for instance, will run a whopping $656,000 on average, according to the BBC, a higher average price than any Canadian city except for Vancouver.

4.  Lebanon

Canadian expats: 45,000

Income tax rate: 0-20 per cent
Avg. home price: N/A
Unemployment rate: 9.2 per cent
Avg. household disposable income/year: N/A

During Lebanon's bloody civil war from 1975 to 1990, thousands of Lebanese residents fled to Canada to take asylum. But in the years since, as Canada's Lebanese population has swelled to more than 250,000, many have returned to their homeland, which includes the capital Beirut, one of the world's most vibrant and lively cities.

5.  Australia

Canadian expats: 27,289

Income tax rate: 0-45 per cent
Avg. home price: N/A
Unemployment rate: 5.1 per cent
Avg. household disposable income/year: $26,915

Canadians are happy people, but they're not the happiest on earth. And guess who tops us. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canadians are the second happiest people in the world, trailing only Australians. The OECD study considered factors such as income levels, healthcare, education and housing affordability.

Source: Jason Buckland, MSN Canada

 

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