Recent statistics show that in some countries, the expat community can make up a noticeable percentage of the population. Of course we are not talking a huge percentage, but the very fact it has now become possible to express the expat head count in percentage of population form in these countries is indicative of the fact that people no longer see moving abroad as a particularly large hurdle to overcome and more and more people are willing to leave their country of birth to seek a new life elsewhere. One recent survey of the expat community in Spain found that there were three main reasons that people had chosen to move there:
1. Lower cost of living means a better lifestyle, even if income was reduced.
2. Ability to relocate to a more desirable area, both socially and environmentally.
3. Better climate and healthier environment.
The interesting thing about these three reasons is that they were originally the prime driver for many retired people relocating to the warmer parts of Spain; however, the average expat age has dropped significantly over the past two decades. It would seem to suggest that younger people are seeking early retirement or semi-retirement - in effect we have a whole batch of young, financially well off people leaving the shores of their home country to live in Spain. One can only presume that this has a negative economic impact upon the country they are leaving, as the people literally cash in their chips and take them elsewhere. In a future post I will explore some of the possible effects this could have on a country over the long term.