Welcome to the very first Expatsi Report! This quarterly report will track why people want to leave the U.S., what they’re looking for, what they have to spend, and more. See the images above, or download a PDF, below.
by Jen Barnett
Have you ever thought about moving out of the United States? You’re not alone—the U.S. Department of State estimates that nine million Americans live abroad, and this Washington Post report from early in the pandemic claimed that more people were leaving than ever before. Thanks to the work-from-home revolution and the rise of new visa options for remote workers, Americans have never had more opportunities to leave the U.S. for greener pastures. That doesn’t mean it’s a cakewalk, as this Newsweek article found based on Reddit users’ experiences.
Expatsi, a website that helps Americans who want to emigrate, today released the first issue of The Expatsi Report. The report analyzes 2,017 responses to the Expatsi Test, a quiz that points users to the best countries for them based on their needs for safety, infrastructure, healthcare, cost of living, human rights, weather, culture, and more.
When asked to select reasons why they want to leave the U.S., 70% of respondents chose adventure and personal growth, while more than half responded that the U.S. is too divided, the U.S. is too conservative, or that they were looking for more freedom.
These responses span April-June, 2022, and may have been influenced by the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling, which led to a spike in search traffic among people who disagreed with SCOTUS’s decision. That’s also indicated by the freedoms they said they were looking for in a new country: nearly two-thirds of respondents said they wanted to move to a country where same-sex relationships, abortion, and same-sex marriage were unrestricted, while more than half wanted to live where gender identity and recreational cannabis were legal. In comparison, only 11% wanted handguns to be legal.
When asked about cost-of-living concerns, three-fourths of people said they wanted to move to a more affordable country where they could stretch their dollars. Conversely, when asked to choose their preferred destinations, the top answers were Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada — some of the most expensive places to live.
Unsurprisingly, many respondents wanted to have it all—affordable living, few guns, stable democracy, fast wifi, great healthcare, nice weather, and beautiful beaches in an English-speaking country with a speedy visa process. There’s no such place.
Based on answers to the quiz, these were the top-ten most recommended countries:
- United Kingdom
- Costa Rica
A clear preference for Western Europe skews these recommendations, which may be a result of the way we romanticize life in Paris, London, and Berlin, while underestimating the quality of life or safety in lesser-known locales. In reality, many parts of Western Europe are struggling with the same divisions we face in the U.S., while countries in South America, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia grow their economies and expand their human rights.
We recommend aspiring expats broaden their horizons and add these countries to their consideration set:
Respondents came from across the country and found the test by searching Google for terms like “best countries for U.S. expats” and “how to choose what country to move to.” The top five states for respondents were #California, #Texas, #Florida, #NewYork, and #NorthCarolina, while the top five states/districts for respondents per capita were the #DistrictofColumbia, #Vermont, #Colorado, #Maine, and #Idaho