Friday, December 9, 2011

More Americans plan to leave the US

First, we have this Zogby poll of 115,000 Americans showing that up to 20% of American households are considering living outside the US, at least part time. That article is four years old, but it turns out that Bob Adams, the gentleman whose company conducted the survey, is continuing to conduct surveys. As it turns out, the number of young people who want to leave the US has increased quite a bit.

One number is particularly striking to me:
Younger Americans seem even keener to look abroad, with 40 percent of those 18-24 expressing interest in foreign relocation, which is up from 15 percent two years ago.

Some of this is adventurism. Some of this is disenchantment with US politics. Some of this is fear for the US economic future. All of this is interesting. Something significant is happening, but unless Americans can figure out how to get out, there won't be much change. Still, it looks like I should be writing an "Expat Howto" book now, instead of another programming book.

You can read more at the American Wave web site. It has a lot of fascinating information.


  1. Isn't this like asking smokers whether they plan to stop smoking? Asking people whether they plan to visit a gym more often? Etc.?

    Sure, a lot of people say they'd like to do stuff. Whether it happens is yet another story.

  2. @Anonymous: it's important to keep in mind the sharp increase in the number of people planning to relocate. If you asked smokers year to year if they plan to stop smoking, or you ask people if they plan to exercise more, I doubt you'll get such a significant change in the number of people giving different answers. That's the key here: attitudes are changing. Behaviors don't change unless there's a change in attitude first.

  3. If you do go on to write the Expat Howto book I want to be a reviewer.

  4. @Michael: I wouldn't take on many reviewers, but you know damned well you'll be one :)

  5. I've been reading your blog for a couple of days and it's got me very intrigued.

    I'm 22 and currently a Senior at a major midwest university in America and my major goal is to live abroad after I graduate, get some money and/or professional experience.

    The main reasons I'm so interested in it is, as you said, a disenchantment of American politics and U.S. life in general. I'm more prone to distancing myself from that part of my identity now than ever before. Secondly, I crave the experiences after a somewhat "boring" life being born and raised in the midwest.

    Last semester, from January to April of 2011, I studied abroad. Two months in Florence and two months in Paris. Fantastic. Loved every minute of it and I believe I might've become hooked on the European lifestyle. After returning to my university, I began taking French which I would not say I am proficient but by no means fluent. I take it seriously because of the potential of it's impact later in my life.

    Anyways, life story over, I'm very intrigued by this trend and your blog. Please keep up the good work. I'm a big fan.

  6. @Max W: thank you for the kind words! It's feedback like this which really keeps me going.

    The one piece of advice I would offer: remember that that the world is round. I routinely chat with Americans who think "I want to move to Europe". Unfortunately, so many people want to move to Europe that Europe is getting harder and harder for non-Europeans to emigrate to.

    There's a huge world out there with many fantastic places, but many Americans think "Europe" because that's their heritage. If I had to start this over again, I'd seriously look at opportunities in South America (particularly Uruguay) and Asia. Africa's also interesting, but it's in a rather poor economic state right now. Also, Australia and New Zealand are rather easy to get into for at least a temporary stay, but that makes it easier to find a permanent one.

    Whatever happens with you, please keep in touch and let me know. I've helped other people leave their home country (that includes the US) and I'm very happy to hear when I've helped others.

    Good luck!

  7. Ovid,

    I agree with the Europe problem. It's in difficult for me, I suppose, since my education and background naturally make me more attracted to Europe. My fascination with France and French culture just may be the downfall of me. Hence the focus one the French language, which I absolutely love. But I digress..

    Thanks for the snappy reply. Thanks to your blog, I've began to seriously look in to the Australia work holiday program and it looks quite interesting. Just need to save up some money and see where the future takes me.


  8. @Max W: You're quite welcome. Never hesitate to contact me on the blog or via the email listed above on the Web page. I'm always happy to help people find a way to realize their dreams.

  9. Please do write the expat How-To book. Being in IT in a large city, I've known people who've written programming books - they all say it's about adding to your resume, not the money. Plus, it's hard work. I think an expat book would be much more satisfying and would enjoy a much broader audience and more longevity than the usual programming book.

  10. WHile they may PLAN to leave the US, I'd be interested in seeing what percent actually do. It's all nice and dandy to say you want to do it, but the stress of looking for a job, dealing with visa issues, housing, language, and the money you have to spend to get overseas often prohibits people from going.