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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Living the American Dream

The USA remains a popular expat destination, ranking in the top half in all the main indices except for one, the Personal Finance Index.

A Warm Welcome

Out of all expatriates arriving in the United States of America, 83% appreciate the general friendliness of the local population in their new country of residence; close to two out of five people (39%) even rate it as very good. Indeed, the USA ranks 16th out of 64 countries in the Feeling Welcome subcategory of the Ease of Settling In Index. When it comes to finding friends, 68% of respondents don't have a hard time, and over half (55%) find it easy to make local friends in particular.

Two out of three survey participants confirm that settling down in the USA is uncomplicated, a sentiment that is echoed by 58% of respondents worldwide regarding their host countries. Only 15% of expats in the USA find it difficult to get used to the local culture, whereas globally one-fourth (24%) has a hard time.

Knowing the local language is considered a necessity for life in the USA by 67% of respondents, and five in six people (83%) share the opinion that learning the local language is easy. At this point, it is important to note that the Expat Insider survey was conducted in English, and therefore the results in this particular category might be a little biased.

Expat Statistics 2015

Expat statistics for the USA - infographic
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Fun in the Sun

The USA ranks 9th out of 64 countries in the Leisure Options subcategory of the Quality of Life Index. Almost nine in ten people (88%) are happy with the leisure options available and more than half (51%) even rate them as very good. Furthermore, the opportunity to travel is appreciated by 87% of expats in the USA. However, only 58% consider the US transportation infrastructure favorably, and just 22% rate it as very good compared to a global average of 33%.

In the USA, 73% of the survey participants feel comfortable with the local weather and climate. About one person out of ten (11%) is dissatisfied with the quality of the natural environment, though, while globally 23% of expats criticize this factor in their respective country.

The Land of Opportunity

In the Job & Career subcategory of the Working Abroad Index, the USA ranks 2nd out of 64 countries, just behind Malta. The great appreciation of career prospects (seven out of ten expats in the USA (71%) rate this factor positively, while worldwide only 56% do so), and the high level of job satisfaction (68%) among expats in the USA account for this ranking. In addition, less than one in ten expats (8%) evaluates the state of the US economy negatively.

Money, Money, Money

With regard to the (reverse) Cost of Living Index, the USA ranks 27th out of all 64 countries. Over half of the expatriates in the USA (55%) evaluate the costs of living positively, while 65% are content with their overall financial situation.

Taking a closer look, housing costs in the USA are regarded favorably by almost one in two respondents (48%), whereas only 41% of expats worldwide rate the housing costs in their respective country of residence positively. While the quality of US healthcare is in line with expectations for 60% of the expats questioned, more than half (53%) do not consider medical care in the USA affordable. In comparison, costs of healthcare are perceived negatively by only one-fourth of the expats around the globe (26%).

Childcare and Education

With regards to further expenses, the USA ranks 37th out of 41 countries in the Costs of Childcare & Education subcategory of the Family Life Index. In fact, 60% of expat parents do not appreciate the high costs of childcare in the USA, compared to a worldwide percentage of 38%. The results show a similar situation for education costs, which three in five expat parents in the USA (58%) do not find easy to afford, in comparison to a global average of 42%.

The good news is that high costs come with high quality. The options for education are considered satisfactory by nearly three-fourths of the expat parents in the USA (73%) and 63% evaluate the quality of education positively.

With regards to childcare, 58% of expat parents share the opinion that childcare options are numerous and easily available, while only 45% around the world say the same for their country of residence.

Happy Families

Family life in general in the USA is enjoyed by over four-fifths of expat parents (82%). Moreover, only one in twenty evaluates their children's general well-being negatively, with not one parent in the USA going so far as to state they are not satisfied at all in this regard.

Leisure activities for kids are appreciated by almost nine in ten parents (88%), with 43% even rating them very good. In addition, the local population's friendliness towards families with children is agreed upon by 82% of expats. All in all, the USA is considered a safe and healthy environment for kids by 78% of local expat parents, a percentage that is mostly on par with the global average of 76%.

Further Reading