Where are Americans emigrating to and why?

According to the American Resident Overseas Association, around 9 million Americans (excluding military) live in 160-plus countries. If all these Americans were placed in one state, it would be the 12th most populous state of the United States.

The State Department estimates 8.7 million Americans living and working around the world. That makes them equivalent to the combined populations of Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Tucson.

All these numbers are an estimate since the U.S. government doesn’t formally track how many Americans leave the U.S. However, recent estimate place the figure at nearly nine million. This number, represents doble of 1999 with 4.1 million. By 2020, the number of American expatriates has more than doubled. A number growing faster than the rate of the U.S. population.

According to data from different countries, after the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, many Americans left the country and settled in different parts of the world.

According to the Association of American Residents Overseas (AARO), U.S. expats can be found in more than 160 countries:

  • 40% opt for the Western hemisphere — Canada, Mexico, Central, and South America.
  • 26% move to Europe.
  • 14% head to East Asia and the Pacific
  • 14% head to the Middle East.
  • 3% to Central or South Asia.
  • 3% Africa.

Back in 2015, the top 10 most popular countries for expats of all nations to move were:

  1. Ecuador
  2. Mexico
  3. Malta
  4. Singapore
  5. Luxembourg
  6. New Zealand
  7. Thailand
  8. Panama
  9. Canada
  10. Australia

That has changed quite a bit, in the last five years. According to specialized publications, places like Mexico and Ecuador are out of the list, and new locations have taken its place. Global financial services company HSBC— released the results of its annual Expat Explorer Survey. Questions were sent to more than 22,000 expats around the world, with the following results.

  1. Switzerland
  2. Singapore
  3. Canada
  4. Spain
  5. New Zealand
  6. Australia
  7. Turkey
  8. Germany
  9. United Arab Emirates
  10. Vietnam

 Why are Americans emigrating?
Just as many immigrants arrive in the United States seeking a better quality of life, Americans are leaving for the same reasons. For many, this means economic reasons — they cannot longer afford living in the United States. Others leave due to work opportunities. Others retire abroad, and some marry partners from foreign countries.

 Why are Ecuador and Mexico out of the top 10?
In the 2015 Expat Insider study by InterNations, Ecuador was a popular destination for expats of many origins described as “everyone’s darling.” American citizens make up more than half of Ecuador’s expat population. Ecuador’s appeal went down due to its populist governments’, insecurity and, more recently, their poor handling of the pandemic.

Generations of Americans have followed their entrepreneurial spirit to a well know place for them. Many have relocated here, started businesses and families in Mexico. Traditionally, the U.S. southern neighbor has received large numbers of Americans thought the years, especially after Mexico’s thriving financial moments, due to foreign investments, multinational banks, and professional services firms.

Mexico was a growing draw for Americans as the Mexican government of former presidents Salinas, Zedillo, Fox, Calderon, and Peña Nieto, allowed increasing trade with its northern neighbors. NAFTA became an opportunity for American firms in Mexico.

Also, the American health care system has become unpayable for many. The average working person quite often has to spend a considerable amount of its earnings on insurance. Others accept jobs they hate because they need the health insurance they get through their employer. In many countries, such as Mexico, health care is exceptional and affordable. You can choose your doctor and your hospital for a fragment of what a procedure would cost in the U.S.

 Unfortunately, Mexico has become a violent country, with a populist government, who is no longer interested in respecting foreign investments and cannot guarantee its inhabitants’ safety in most areas.

 Why people move away?
According to research on expatriates around the world, these are the main reasons people choose to move to other places:

  1. Health Care
  2. Lower crime rates
  3. A more laid-back lifestyle
  4. Social welfare programs
  5. A safer environment
  6. Friendly people
  7. Exposure to a new culture
  8. Learning a new language
  9. Starting a new business
  10. Life quality

more recommended stories