Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Initial Overseas Exile Expat Survey Results

Image by Mizunoryu
As of this writing, the US Expat Survey has 235 responses. That's after removing obvious "joke" responses and duplicate responses. Duplicates were determined by seeing all 50 questions answered identically, with freeform responses required as those require people to type in an answer and those are unique enough to say "yup, this is a duplicate". The survey's only been running for nine days, but almost all of the responses were in the first three days. I'll leave the survey up, but I don't expect significantly different results.

Keep in mind the following:
  • Internet surveys are notoriously unreliable
  • Publishing results is more likely to bias subsequent results
  • Internet surveys are notoriously unreliable
In other news, consider this information "fun" rather than useful.

Only the first three questions, gender, age, and current country, were required. If any of the following totals do not add to 235, it's because some people chose not to answer those questions. For all charts below, clicking on the image will open a larger — and thus legible — version of said chart.

Personal Questions

Of the respondents, 100 were female, 134 male, and one was a nonbinary transgender who thanked me for asking (you're welcome, whoever you are). Of these, 209 were born in the US or one of its territories, with 24 born on foreign soil.

Top five countries represented were France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. This suggests that the survey responses are biased in favor of readers of this blog (no surprise there), so keep this in mind while reading.

235 participants by country

The participants tended to be on the young side, with approximately half of participants being 30 or under.

235 participants by age
229 participants answered the question about marital status. Half of the participants were single, with almost half being married. One female participant living in Switzerland stated that she was not permitted to legally marry her partner. I should have added "have a partner", but failed to do. Oops.

229 participants by marital status

Of those who stated they had a partner, only one third of them had a partner from the US. Otherwise, almost everyone had a partner whose origin was the country they were currently living in.

152 partners by country
Almost half the participants had a Bachelor's degree. Fully 75% had a Bachelor's, Master's or Doctorate.

232 participants by education level
Sexual orientation was overwhelmingly heterosexual. I did breakdowns by gender, age, and education level, but the distribution below didn't significantly change, so I did not include them here.

226 participants by sexual orientation
Unsurprisingly, respondents were overwhelmingly white. With the exception of the three "Native Americans" who responded, all non-white ethnicities had much lower expatriation rates compared to their population percentage in the US (as a percentage of the US population).

227 participants by ethnicity

For the "state" question, I asked which state the expat felt closest to. Florida, New York, Washington, Texas and Massachusetts were the top five.

228 participants by state

And the last "personal" question was about religion. For the record, these were the options:
  • Agnostic
  • Atheist
  • Christian
  • Hindu
  • Jewish
  • Muslim
  • Other
Those options represent the most common religions in the US, arranged in alphabetical order. For the "other" choice, you could fill in your own. And that made this one a mess. We had two Catholics, one Quaker and one Mormon list those specific sects instead of choose "Christian" (note for non-Mormons: you may not like me grouping Mormons with Christianity, but they are an offshoot of the religion).

We also had "Buddhistically inclined", more than one "atheist Buddhist", an "atheist Christian" and other items that I changed to "other" because it would be hard to categorize them otherwise.

So after correcting for bad data by shoving a few obvious candidates into "Christian" and all others into "Other", we have the following chart:

224 participants by religion
As you can see, atheism won hands down, but we probably shouldn't make too much of this. That being said, I do wonder if this observation is accurate? Are atheists more likely to leave the US, or is moving abroad likely change one's views about religion? Or will it simply make more atheists "come out of the closet"? One Pew study suggests that 20% of Americans are "atheist, agnostic or unaffiliated", but the above has 55% of US expats as "atheist or agnostic". And if you're wonder about the corrections made to the "other" column, the following were all corrected to "other":
  • 6 Agnostic, Atheist
  • 1 Agnostic, Buddhist
  • 4 Agnostic, Christian
  • 1 Apatheist
  • 2 Atheist, Buddhist
  • 1 Atheist, Christian
  • 1 Atheist, Heathen
  • 1 Atheist, Jewish
  • 1 Atheist, Unitarian
  • 1 Buddhism comes closest -- or Unitarian Universalist
  • 2 Buddhist
  • 1 Buddhistly inclined...
  • 1 Budist
  • 1 Humanist
  • 1 Muslim, Deist
  • 1 Unitarian Universalist
  • 1 Zoroastrian
  • 1 athiest with buddhist belief tendencies
  • 1 mine. :)
  • 1 not sure
Make of that what you will.

Future posts will include the sections on Living Abroad, Emotional, Politics, Finances and Taxes, and some selected comments from participants.

Update: I changed the wording on the "religion" section slightly to avoid concerns that I taking a "dig" at some religions.