The land of the free and the home of the brave may not be so attractive anymore, particularly to the approximate 33% of Americans who are considering moving abroad – permanently or temporarily.
According to the U.S. Treasury Department statistics for 2014 showed a 14 percent increase in expatriations, to 3,415.
Some of the reasons Americans are so keen to make the international move to foreign climes has something to do with a sense of adventure, but not entirely. Many Americans want to move for economic and lifestyle reasons: more affordable healthcare, lower taxes and improved education among them. These are the findings of a recent national survey conducted by Harris Poll.
Of those who are considering moving abroad, the 18-34 age group (known as Millennials and Gen Y) is heavily represented: more than 55% of Millennials would consider international relocation. Many said they would do so closer to retirement age, while some believe they will make the move within the next five years.
There are a number of reasons why would Americans actually want to leave the land of their birth.
While many expressed a desire for lower taxes as one of their “major” motivations, others include better quality of life, the desire for new experiences and a general lower cost of living.
A better quality of life:
You could find this in places like Vienna, Austria; Zurich, Switzerland or Auckland, New Zealand. Not necessarily cheaper, but a higher quality all round. Of course, if you decide on New Zealand, you won’t have to learn a new language. Well, sort of – the Kiwi accent can be a bit challenging if your ear is not attuned, but you’ll pick it up quickly enough. Whereas in Vienna and Zurich you would probably have to learn German to make your move worthwhile and enjoy that quality you are seeking.
Of course, two key factors under this heading “better quality of life” are improved education and more affordable healthcare. Those surveyed – more especially those with young families, and older residents – believe that these two areas are issues that would drive them to consider moving abroad.
A lower cost of living:
This could be problematic, because the cheapest countries are not necessarily the most secure. Of the 10 cheapest countries in the world, six have ongoing civil wars or active insurgencies, and the other four are pretty dodgy from a stability point of view as well. But having a lower cost of living is certainly a motivating factor for Americans to move abroad.
To have new experiences:
This motivation will give you many more options, but you will probably find that moving overseas to locations which offer you this are likely to be more temporary. In fact, the craving for places like India, Thailand, Eastern Europe or other exotic sounding destinations would probably be satisfied with a few weeks’ vacation or a stay of a few months.
There is nothing particularly “unpatriotic” in this desire to move. Modern technology probably has a lot to do with it. Americans, along with the rest of the world – especially, but not limited to, the younger generations – have embraced innovations in communication, transportation and financial technologies that make it easier and cheaper to move in search of easier and more enjoyable lives. The world has become increasingly interconnected. Advanced telecommunications, trade routes and economies are expanding across the world, individual barriers are breaking down, and it’s easier to move internationally from country to country.
All these elements are making an impact on the way Americans see their lives and are nudging them towards that decision to try a foreign location – even if only for a short period of time.