Today, the urban destinations of American expats are numerous, and expanding. In addition to the more traditional destinations (Mexico, Canada, Israel, Australia and many countries in Europe), in recent years we’ve seen new currents of American migration, especially towards Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. They tend to choose these destinations for a combination of personal, cultural, linguistic, educational, professional and economic reasons. It’s also important to mention that many Americans are also heavily influenced by their family and social networks, and often choose their host country, and city, accordingly.
Above all, the trend of American expatriation to urban destinations is the most notable, especially to “global cities” where they find international lifestyles, cultural opportunities, diversity, excitement, and of course growing urban expat communities.
Emerging urban expat destinations
Urban Professionals in Asia
Urban destinations in Asia are experiencing an immigration boom of American bankers and other professionals in search of work opportunities that they’re not finding in the United States. Singapore and Hong Kong are both considered excellent destinations for highly qualified immigrants due to high earnings potential. For example, in Hong Kong, half of the highly qualified immigrants that live there earn more than $200,000 dollars a year (Forbes Magazine, 2008).
Educators in the Middle East
The Middle East is becoming another popular destination of Americans seeking professional opportunities in the oil industry, industries related to war, and the academic industry. In fact, the Middle East tends to have the highest salaries for native English teachers compared to all other regions of the world. Americans with PhDs are also flocking to the Middle East for university teaching jobs to escape the oversupply of Americans with Doctorates in the arts and social sciences in the United States.
Entrepreneurial high-tech havens in the developing world
While the movements towards major Asian cities and the Middle East hinge on professional and economic motives, other destinations –primarily underdeveloped countries in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe- have shown up on the radar for different reasons.
Americans tend to choose these destinations in the context of personal, cultural, social or educational reasons. And while professional or economic motives do factor into their decision, this tends to happen in a very different way: for remote workers, entrepreneurs and retirees, these destinations offer lower living costs, which means their salaries, earnings and pensions (in dollars) go a lot further. In fact, young American entrepreneurs are opening up a record number of businesses in these areas of the world due to lower start-up, operational, and living costs.