Very few Americans move to countries outside the U.S. each year. The figure barely tops 100,000, according to recent research. Over half of those who do move migrate to Mexico, the U.K., Canada, or Australia – with Mexico being the top country to which people depart, representing about 15% of the total. (These are the cities Americans are abandoning.)
Among the reasons people move to Mexico is likely the cost of living. The figure for Mexico is about 50% lower than in the US. People who are not tied down by family or jobs can find a place to live on modest incomes just across America’s southern border. (It is probably not a coincidence that Canada ranks third among countries Americans are moving to.)
This is particularly true for retirees. Travel & Leisure recently put Mexico on its list of “8 of the Cheapest Countries to Retire Around the World.” (You might be surprised by the real cost of living in America’s most expensive cities.)
Mexico does have drawbacks as a place Americans might relocate. It has a higher crime rate than the U.S., and the great majority of Americans do not speak Spanish.
Proximity to the U.S. is not always a reason people move out of America to other nations, however. Mexico and Canada aside, European countries dominate the list of the top 15 destinations for Americans moving abroad, with Portugal seeing the largest increase (303%) from 2017 to 2021.
Other English-speaking countries including Australia and New Zealand also made the list, as did Costa Rica, Israel, Japan, and South Korea.
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