Yesterday's "United Kingdom profile" took just a few short hours to enter the "top ten list" of most popular posts in the past month, despite not having much information there. Part of this is due to the fact that it's an English speaking country and viewed as accessible and part of this is because many grow up with "romantic" ideals of what Europe is like. As I've mentioned before, when people tell me they want to live abroad, they usually mean "I want to live in Europe", though I've found that if I start asking questions, there's often only a vague sense of why they want to go there.
|Tunisian 2011 Revolution|
Photo by magherebia
Then there are people like Arthur C. Clarke who emigrated to beautiful, peaceful Sri Lanka and spent the rest of his life there, the last 25 years of which were in a country engaged in a civil war withe Tamil Tiger terrorists.¹ If you are, for example, an American who desperately wishes to leave your home country for a "better life", keep in mind that you'd probably find your home country pretty damned attractive if you were sitting in Cairo right now. That's why people in the US who say they want "asylum" in another country should probably consider that asylum is something which should be offered to those truly in need. Compared to political refugees like gays from Iran, Christians in Afghanistan, or Somali refugees now being harassed by Kenyan police and soldiers, most people don't really have much room to complain. The "push" factor for most reading this blog is pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
That being said, Americans still want to leave. Lots of them are desperate to leave. Bob Adam's broke this down in a story for Barron's where he commissioned a survey of US households and found the following (note that these are households, not individuals):
- 1.6 million U.S. households have already made the decision to relocate. That figure has remained stable over the year and a half during which seven surveys were conducted.
- Another 1.8 million households are seriously considering relocation and are likely to do it.
- 7.7 million households are "somewhat seriously" considering relocation and "may" do it.
- Nearly 3 million households are seriously considering the purchase of a vacation home or other property outside the U.S., and another 10 million are "somewhat" seriously considering it.
1. To those familiar with the situation and who object to the term "terrorist", I use the term in the strictest sense of "the threat or use of violence against non-combatants to effect political change". There is no judgment there, only description. See Louise Richardson's excellent book What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat if you wish to know more about this fascinating subject (and understand some of my point of view here).