US expats leave for a better life rather than more money

Published:  28 Dec at 6 PM
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US citizens leaving the country of their birth are doing so for a change in lifestyle rather than to earn more money.

A surprising revelation in the latest InterNations survey states many US citizens are upping sticks and moving overseas for a better quality of life, irrespective of whether they’re earning more in their new countries. In fact, almost half of those surveyed reported their take home pay in their new jobs was less than their US salaries. Mexico and Costa Rica, both favourite havens for American expats, both have costs of living which are far cheaper than the USA.

The survey suggests it’s not just the economical prospects of a move to Mexico or Costa Rica which attracts large numbers of US expats, it’s the countries’ cultures and new experiences which are the main draw. Germany is another favourite for Americans, with a good number settling there after having worked or done military service in the country. State Department figures suggest some 8.67 million US citizens are living overseas, with nine per cent settled in Germany, five per cent in Mexico and four per cent in Costa Rica.

Mexico gets high ratings for personal happiness and lifestyle, whilst Costa Rica scores for its ease of settling in and overall quality of life. Americans in both countries said they’d adjusted very quickly to their new lives and felt at home almost immediately. A high number of US expats are retirees, with 40 per cent of survey respondents saying they’d never go back and a good few becoming citizens of their chosen country. Many are still working either full or part time, with 66 per cent happy in their jobs and the same number happy with their work/life balance.

It seems the only problem US expats have with living overseas is their seeming inability to get to grips with the local language. The official language of both Mexico and Costa Rica is Spanish, considered one of the easiest world languages to learn, but 11 per cent of respondent said they couldn’t speak it and 40 per cent said they only knew a little, but still found it easy to make friends with the local people.
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