New Survey Shows Expats’ Love-Hate View of the U.S.

The U.S. just took a big hit in one of the leading expat surveys around. The 2016 survey conducted by InterNations, the expat social network, found that the U.S. dropped 21 positions overall, down to number 26 out of 67 countries, from its 2015 rank of 13.

Most of the problems came from expats’ concerns about the costs of childcare, education and health care, plus the workload and growing concerns about political stability, said InterNations’ co-founder Malte Zeeck.

The survey, now running for three years, asked 14,272 expats around the world a series of questions about everything from ease of settling in to job prospects in a foreign country.

Interestingly, the survey was conducted before such tectonic global shifts as the recent Brexit vote in the U.K. or the mid-year surge in terrorism in a number of European countries, so next year’s survey may reflect that, Mr. Zeeck said.

Even with a sharp drop in ratings, a full 46% of expats in the U.S. hope to live in the country permanently. “In the U.S., people want to stay a long time, even forever,” said Mr. Zeeck. That’s compared to 31% of expats worldwide. Last year, 39% of expats in the U.S. wanted permanent residency.

Also, 22% of the respondents said they would stay longer than three years. Some 27% of expats in the U.S. have gotten U.S. citizenship, which is more than double the global average of 11%, said Mr. Zeeck. “It’s still very popular to become an American.”