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One-third of Americans consider living abroad

December 17, 2018

New research has revealed that approximately one-third (33.1%) of all US-born US citizens living in the US are considering leaving the United States to live abroad.

Drawing on data collected in 2014, researchers Dr Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels from the University of Kent's Brussels School of International Studies, and Dr Helen Marrow of Tufts University, USA, identified the reasons for this as: exploration (87.4%); retirement (50.8%); leaving a bad or disappointing situation in the US (49.0%); and working (48.3%).

Previous research from Dr Klekowski von Koppenfels has shown that adventure or exploration is the primary reason American migrants who are already abroad give for migration, with marriage/partnership a very close second. This new study builds on that research and examines what motivations prospective American migrants have, whether they end up leaving or not.

The study also found that the aspiration to live abroad is strongly predicted by national identity. On the other hand, there is almost no correlation between political ideology - whether someone identifies as politically liberal or conservative -and Americans' aspiration to live abroad.

Dr Klekowski von Koppenfels said: 'When we looked at what underlying factors played a role in Americans' thinking about migrating, we found that having a less than "very strong" American national identity was an important factor. Others that played a role were knowing other Americans who had lived abroad or having served in the US military, both of which are networks our respondents might tap into.

'While one might think that ideological orientation plays a role, at least in this pre-Trump survey, we found out that it did not, at least not directly.'

The research, Modeling American Migration Aspirations: How Capital, Race, and National Identity Shape Americans' Ideas about Living Abroad by Dr Helen B Marrow and Dr Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels is published in International Migration Review.
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Established in 1965, the University of Kent - the UK's European university - now has almost 20,000 students across campuses or study centres at Canterbury, Medway, Tonbridge, Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome.

It was ranked 22nd in the Guardian University Guide 2018 and in June 2017 was awarded a gold rating, the highest, in the UK Government's Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

In 2018 it was also ranked in the top 500 of Shanghai Ranking's Academic Ranking of World Universities and 47th in the Times Higher Education's (THE) new European Teaching Rankings.

Kent is ranked 17th in the UK for research intensity (REF 2014). It has world-leading research in all subjects and 97% of its research is deemed by the REF to be of international quality.

Along with the universities of East Anglia and Essex, Kent is a member of the Eastern Arc Research Consortium (http://www.kent.ac.uk/about/partnerships/eastern-arc.html).

The University is worth £0.7 billion to the economy of the south east and supports more than 7,800 jobs in the region. Student off-campus spend contributes £293.3m and 2,532 full-time-equivalent jobs to those totals.

Kent has received two Queen's Anniversary prizes for Higher and Further Education.

University of Kent

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