Monday, July 16, 2012

Creating a New Expat Survey

In my ongoing attempt to understand the US diaspora abroad, I want to create a new USA expat poll. My last poll and its results were over a year ago and it was focused quite heavily on my audience¹ This time, I want to focus on US expats for the simple reason that I want to capture one interesting bit of information: what's their US political affiliation? So far it seems skewed away from Republican, but others claim that "Republicans aren't joiners". So I have a twofold goal: design a useful poll and spread it as far and wide as possible. Obviously, internet polls have an inherent bias, but lacking any other way of capturing useful information, I'd rather settle for some rather than none.

This is all a very rough draft and the final poll won't look like this. I would love to have feedback on what I should include or exclude and where I should distribute it.

Personal Information
  • Gender
  • Age
  • What state/region did you last live in?
  • What state/region would you most consider your "home" state?
  • Occupation
  • Annual income
  • Education level
  • What were your primary reasons for moving abroad?
  • What political party would you say most closely fits your personal views?
  • Current employment
  • Marital status
  • Nationality of partner/spouse
  • Primary language spoken with partner/spouse
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Do you still vote in US elections?
  • Who do you plan to vote for in the 2012 Presidential election?
  • Which, if any, of the following expat groups do you follow or belong to?
    • ACA
    • AARO
    • Democrats Abroad
    • Republicans Abroad
    • Isaac Brock Society
    • Local expatriate group
    • Other
Your Current Country
  • What country do you currently live in?                                                                                                                                            
  • How long have you lived in this country?
  • When did you leave the US?
  • Why did you leave the US?
  • How many countries have you lived in?
  • Which countries?
  • How well do you speak the local language?
  • How well do you read the local language?

Relationship to the US
  • How likely are you to return to the US?
  • How likely are you to acquire citizenship of another country?
  • How likely are you to give up your US citizenship?
  • If you do, why?
  • How often do you visit the US for other than business reasons?

Financial (need more here)
  • When you first moved abroad, were you aware if your US tax obligations?
  • How did you learn of your US tax obligations?
  • Have you missed filing your taxes?
  • Have you ever been turned down for a foreign financial account due to your US citizenship?
  • Have you had to file an FBAR?
  • Have you had to file form 8938 (under Fatca)

1. As of this writing, Overseas Exile is ranked about 189,000 on Alexa stats. That's pretty damned good for a niche blog!


  1. I don't know how it is done in the US, but in Israel the election results are published in details, as how many voters voted for each country in each place.
    Isn't how it is done in the US? if so, just take the last elections results, under 'abroad' location.

  2. Oh the US is light years behind other countries in this respect. There is no good data on American abroad - in the fact the U.S. doesn't even know how many of them there are and where they live much less how they vote.

    Curtis, May I suggest modifying this one "Primary language spoken with partner/spouse." It's not so much the language the spouses use but what language the family uses and if they are using OPOL both languages may be getting equal time. Maybe something like, "What are the primary languages used in your home?"

    It also might be interesting to add, "If you are a dual citizen do you vote as well in your country of residence/citizenship?"

  3. Are you sure you want to get data that might incriminate people, or at least make them target for tax agencies? I would certainly not answer any of the financial questions.

    1. @Anonymous: the survey, like you, would be anonymous.

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