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HomeInterviews & EditorialNew American Dream To Move Abroad

New American Dream To Move Abroad

Dr. Tausif Malik

New American Dream To Move Abroad. As the cost of living continues to soar and crime rates climb, a growing number of Americans are considering leaving the country in search of better opportunities and a higher quality of life. From inadequate healthcare to exorbitant education costs and a lack of savings, the challenges facing many Americans are prompting them to explore options beyond US borders.

What is the New American Dream?

The “New American Dream” represents a significant departure from traditional aspirations such as homeownership and career success within the United States, signaling a transformative shift towards a more fulfilling and less stressful lifestyle abroad, while still reaping the benefits of a US income stream. This paradigm shift underscores a broader reassessment of values, where the pursuit of quality of life and personal freedom takes precedence over the acquisition of material wealth and conventional achievements.

Amidst mounting economic challenges, escalating living costs, and societal pressures in the US, there is a growing disillusionment with the “old” American dream, as many find traditional goals increasingly unattainable or less desirable. A Wall Street Journal-NORC poll revealed that a significant portion of Americans doubt the attainability of the traditional American dream, prompting a reevaluation of priorities. Consequently, a notable number of individuals have chosen to relocate abroad, with over 5.4 million Americans estimated to have made this transition, seeking more affordable living conditions, superior healthcare, and a slower pace of life conducive to appreciating life’s simpler pleasures.

The decision to move abroad is also influenced by the prospect of maintaining or improving one’s quality of life, even at the potential cost of a reduction in income. According to a survey by Ford, a majority of Americans would be willing to accept a 20% pay cut in exchange for a lifestyle that prioritizes quality of life over financial prosperity. This trend reflects a deep-seated desire for balance and well-being that transcends purely economic considerations, highlighting a fundamental shift in societal values and aspirations.

Rising Cost of Living and Financial Strain

With housing prices skyrocketing and everyday expenses becoming increasingly burdensome, many Americans find themselves struggling to make ends meet. According to recent statistics, the cost of living in major US cities has outpaced wage growth, leaving families grappling with financial strain and uncertainty about their future.

Recent research conducted by the Pew Research Center reveals that the cost of living in major US cities has outpaced wage growth by more than double in the past decade. This has left many families struggling to make ends meet, with a significant portion of their income going towards housing, healthcare, and other basic necessities.

Escalating Crime Rates and Safety Concerns

In addition to economic challenges, concerns about personal safety and security have also contributed to the desire to seek refuge elsewhere. The surge in crime rates in urban areas has left residents feeling vulnerable and exposed, prompting some to seek refuge in countries with lower crime rates and safer communities.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, violent crime rates in the United States have increased by 5.6% in the past year alone. This surge in crime has left residents feeling increasingly unsafe and has prompted many to seek refuge in countries with lower crime rates and safer communities.

Challenges in Healthcare and Education

Access to affordable healthcare and quality education has long been a source of contention for many Americans. With healthcare costs continuing to rise and education expenses reaching unprecedented levels, families are increasingly looking abroad for more accessible and affordable options to meet their needs.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that healthcare costs in the United States are among the highest in the world, with Americans spending an average of $11,582 per capita on healthcare annually. Additionally, data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows that the average cost of tuition and fees at public four-year institutions has more than doubled over the past three decades, outpacing inflation by nearly threefold.

Lack of Savings and Financial Stability

A significant number of Americans find themselves living paycheck to paycheck, with little to no savings to fall back on in times of need. The lack of financial stability and the inability to build a secure future for themselves and their families has led many to consider relocating to countries where the cost of living is more manageable and opportunities for financial growth abound.

A survey conducted by Bankrate found that 28% of Americans have no emergency savings whatsoever, while an additional 25% have less than three months’ worth of expenses saved up. This lack of financial stability has left many Americans vulnerable to unexpected expenses and has fueled their desire to seek opportunities abroad where the cost of living may be more manageable.

Seeking Social Connection and Well-being

A report published by the American Psychological Association (APA) highlights the importance of social connection and community engagement for overall well-being. However, data from the General Social Survey (GSS) indicates that Americans are increasingly feeling disconnected from their communities, with fewer opportunities for social interaction and meaningful connection.

Beyond economic factors, the desire for a richer social life and improved overall well-being is also driving some Americans to explore opportunities abroad. Many feel disconnected from their communities and long for a sense of belonging and fulfillment that they believe they can find in other countries.

Growing Desire to Settle Abroad Reflects Economic and Social Realities

As the challenges facing Americans continue to mount, an increasing number are looking beyond US borders for greener pastures. Whether it’s pursuing career opportunities in thriving international markets, accessing affordable healthcare and education, or simply seeking a better quality of life, the allure of starting anew in a foreign land is proving irresistible to many.

Recent data from Monmouth University reveals a significant shift in the aspirations of Americans, with one-third expressing a desire to settle in another country. This marks a notable increase from just 12% reported in a 1995 Gallup poll, indicating a growing dissatisfaction with life in the United States. Additionally, InterNation’s 2023 survey of 12,000 expats from 172 countries found that the US accounted for the largest share of expats, further underscoring the trend of Americans seeking opportunities abroad.

Economic Pressures Drive Desire for Change

The desire to move abroad comes as no surprise to many Americans who have grappled with the escalating cost of living and financial strain. Recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal a sharp increase in household expenses, with the average monthly expenditure rising from $5,111 in 2020 to $6,081 in 2022. This surge in expenses has left many families struggling to make ends meet, with 61% of American workers reporting that they are living paycheck to paycheck, according to a survey conducted by the Financial Technology Association.

The Digital Nomad Revolution: Transforming Work and Lifestyle

The advent of remote work and digital nomadism has revolutionized the modern workforce, making this lifestyle increasingly accessible to individuals worldwide. Recent data reveals a significant surge in remote work arrangements, with a remarkable 42% of the US workforce currently working remotely at least part of the time. Moreover, advancements in technology have empowered professionals across diverse industries to seamlessly perform their roles from virtually any location, transcending geographical boundaries.

This newfound flexibility has not only facilitated the transition to a nomadic lifestyle but has also enabled individuals to explore living abroad without compromising career advancement or income stability. According to recent statistics, the number of digital nomads globally has skyrocketed, with estimates indicating that there are now over 10 million individuals actively embracing this lifestyle. This trend underscores the growing appeal of remote work arrangements and the increasing desire for location-independent careers among professionals seeking greater autonomy and work-life balance.

There are over 50 countries that offer digital nomad visas or special permits for remote workers.

Strength of American Passport

The strength of the American passport stands as a formidable asset for Americans considering a move abroad. With visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to over 185 countries and territories worldwide, the American passport ranks among the most powerful in the world.

According to the Henley Passport Index, as of 2024, the US passport secured the 8th position globally in terms of travel freedom and visa-free access. Additionally, the US passport facilitates ease of travel and residence in various countries, enabling Americans to explore opportunities beyond their homeland with relative ease. This unparalleled access afforded by the American passport serves as a compelling factor for many individuals seeking to relocate abroad for work, retirement, or personal enrichment.

Dual Passports & Residency

Recent data indicates a notable uptick in the number of Americans pursuing dual nationality and permanent residency in other countries. As of 2023, nearly 161 million US passports were in circulation, with one for nearly half of all Americans—a significant increase from previous years. The State Department estimated that around 9 million US citizens lived abroad, compared to an estimated 5 million in 2010.

This trend is indicative of a growing interest among Americans in establishing ties to other nations, whether for personal, professional, or lifestyle reasons. Factors such as the rising cost of living, healthcare concerns, and a desire for greater cultural experiences are prompting more Americans to explore options for dual nationality and permanent residency in countries offering favorable conditions and opportunities for a better quality of life.

Comparable or Better Quality of Life Abroad

Recent data and statistics indicate that the quality of infrastructure, shopping, healthcare, technology, lifestyle, and entertainment in several other countries is on par with, if not surpassing, that of the United States. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, countries like Singapore, Switzerland, and Japan boast some of the world’s most advanced and efficient infrastructure networks, including modern transportation systems and state-of-the-art facilities. Similarly, shopping experiences in cities like Dubai and Tokyo rival those found in major US metropolitan areas, offering an extensive array of luxury brands, boutique stores, and cutting-edge retail technologies.

Furthermore, many countries are renowned for their world-class healthcare systems, with countries like Germany and Sweden consistently ranking among the top performers in global healthcare indices. Access to advanced medical technologies, affordable healthcare services, and comprehensive insurance coverage are key factors driving the appeal of healthcare abroad. Additionally, countries such as South Korea and Finland are leading the way in technological innovation, offering high-speed internet connectivity, cutting-edge research facilities, and a thriving startup ecosystem that rivals Silicon Valley. As a result, the quality of life and entertainment options available in these countries often exceed those found in the United States, attracting a growing number of Americans seeking a more enriching and fulfilling lifestyle abroad.

Passport Ownership and Overseas Residency

But as of 2023, there were almost 161 million US passports in circulation, one for nearly half of all Americans. (A generation ago, only 10% of Americans had a passport.) The State Department estimated in 2020 that a total of 9 million US citizens lived abroad, up from an estimated 5 million in 2010 — though those numbers include dual citizens born and raised abroad. The nonprofit advocacy group American Citizens Abroad puts the figure closer to 4 million.

Conclusion: A Shift in Perspective

As the exodus of Americans seeking opportunities abroad gains momentum, it reflects a broader shift in perspective about the American dream. For some, the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment lies beyond the confines of the United States, where they hope to find the stability, security, and sense of belonging that have eluded them at home.

About the Author

Dr. Tausif Malik is an Indian American social entrepreneur, publisher, and academician, renowned for his innovative ventures. He founded and publishes The Desi BuzzGCC Startup News, Startup Berita, and Halal Biz News, amplifying entrepreneurship globally. Dr. Malik also spearheads AIMBSNHalal Angels Network, and Startup Villages, fostering startup ecosystems. His groundbreaking initiative, RiseBack.org, offers affordable edtech solutions, providing Indian university programs starting at $50 per month and professional IT courses priced at $250-$350. Through his diverse endeavors, Dr. Malik empowers individuals with access to education and opportunities.

Dr. Tausif Malik
Dr. Tausif Malik, a serial entrepreneur, academician, publisher, and editor, founder behind The Desi Buzz, GCCStartup.News, and StartupBerita.com. Notably, he is the driving force behind RiseBack.org, the world's first Affordable Education Platform (Edtech). RiseBack.org is dedicated to fostering accessible University degrees (Undergraduate & Graduate/Masters) with starting fees as low as $60 per month, collaborating with accredited Indian Universities. Dr. Tausif Malik is a firm advocate of empowerment through education and fostering development through entrepreneurship.
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