American Expats


Graphic of planes flying to other countries from America.

According to Oxford Languages, an expat is a person who lives outside their native country, and according to a 2019 Gallup poll, 16 percent or about 52.5 million people want to leave America, with 40 percent of women under 30 wishing to emigrate and 49 percent of people younger than 50. There are many reasons why Americans want to emigrate from America, one of them being that America, as it stands, isn’t very safe. According to the Global Peace Index Report, America is ranked 129 out of 163 countries in safety, below China, which ranks 89th. Gun violence remains a problem in America as well. According to EveryStat, 43,375 people died by guns in an average year from 2018-2021, with 40 percent dying from gun homicide. The number of deaths caused by guns has increased from 39 percent from 2012 to 2021. The overturning of Roe v Wade, which allowed states to ban abortion, systematic racism against minorities in America, cost of living, and increasing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation remain factors as to why Americans may want to emigrate. 

In a July 4, 2020, Washington Post article, mother Kimberly Reese explained her desire to move to Ghana, citing concerns about potential police brutality against her son. According to the Global Peace Index Report, Ghana is ranked 40th out of 163 in safety, much higher than America. Yet, while it doesn’t regularly enforce it, Ghana still does criminalize homosexuality and isn’t a perfect country, as 30 percent of the population earns less than $3.20 a day. Still, some Americans want to emigrate to Ghana. In a Washington Post interview, Reese said, “It [political conditions] isn’t like that in Ghana,” she said. “You don’t have to worry about being black.” As of 2019, the Ghanaian government has made efforts for American citizens to immigrate to Ghana, more specifically African Americans, according to visitGhana. In the same Washington Post article, Ghana’s tourism minister Barbara Oteng Gyasi said in a televised ceremony, “We continue to open our arms and invite all our brothers and sisters home,” said Barbara. “Build a life in Ghana. You do not have to stay where you are not wanted forever.” While Ghana had already been encouraging African Americans to emigrate to Ghana, the 2020 murder of George Floyd by Minnesota police led the Ghanaian government to further encourage African Americans to expatriate themselves.

Some students at Robinson want to move out of the United States for similar reasons. An anonymous sophomore commented on why she wants to leave the country. “All the systems suck. All the women are slowly losing their rights, and I don’t want to live somewhere where I don’t have my rights…also, I don’t want to be paying for healthcare.” She also didn’t believe she was safe here, as she said, “The government is just not making a safe environment for students by not making gun safety protocols and instead, they’re teaching us how to keep ourselves safe when the government is supposed to be keeping us safe.” She plans to use the IB diploma offered by Robinson to study abroad in Germany or France. According to, there are 8.44 murders per million people in Germany and 10.54 murders per million people in France, compared to 42.01 murders per million people in the United States. Germany and France have significantly lower murder rates than America, reflecting their safety.

An anonymous junior also shared the same sentiment regarding moving out of the United States. He expressed concerns about America’s colony, Puerto Rico, “The US sterilized 1/3 of Puerto Rican women. The US also just uses my country [Puerto Rico] as a colony- all the wealth coming from Puerto Rico goes to the US and not towards Puerto Rico, which is why they’re very poor.” He also said, “There’s also the other reason- the systematic racism, the increasing political repression, is happening just everywhere, the complete insanity of this country’s politics as well. I mean, you either have spineless cowards or people who just want the worst for everyone.” According to Unidos US, by 1956, one in three Puerto Rican women were forcibly sterilized by the US. He also said that if given the opportunity, he would move to “an independent Puerto Rico.” He also said, “…Cuba is nice this time of year, you know, nice beaches. Other than that, I’ve heard of Brazil mainly just because I want to do some political organizing; that’s my thing. So Brazil, maybe France.” Like many others, he does not feel safe in America, as he said, “No, as long as there are right-wing militias carrying around guns, saying they’ll kill my people, I don’t feel very safe.” In America, membership in the Proud Boys- considered a terrorist group in Canada and New Zealand, and other militant groups have risen, according to Scientific American. The militant groups often have bigoted, right-wing motives. The anonymous junior also elaborated on why the developing political situation in America, “I don’t like the evolving political situation [because] this country is completely lethargic. People do not know how to get things done, and they do not know what militancy is, and they think they can just protest in the streets and not do anything else to get things done.” He continues, “It’s about strikes. It’s about civil disobedience and people do not understand that. They’re obsessed with civility politics. They care about appearing civil when their opponents are purging people they don’t like, passing laws that kill people, and advocating for killings. It’s a completely lopsided situation where one side is completely the worst, and one side claims the opposition yet lets everything pass. It’s horrible.”

However, he also shared some factors pulling him back from leaving the US, as he said, “Well, most of my political investments are here. You know, everything I know, everything that I’m invested in is here and if I want to change something, I’ll most likely do it here.” He continued, “I mean, most of my family lives here, all my family lives here. I obviously like that I came from here. It’s sort of my home, you know there’s the only place I’ve known ever. I’ve never been abroad. I would have to learn a new language. All those things kind of hold me back, along with the fact that it would just be very hard to let go.”

An anonymous sophomore shared the same sentiment as to why they want to move out of America. He’s considering applying to the University of Toronto and moving to Norway or Canada. He also states why he wants to move, as he said, “Also, the US has a lot of issues that other countries don’t have to the same extent, such as gun violence … and systemic racism. I like the architecture in other places better.” 

It’s also hard not to mention that living in other countries is much healthier than living in America. Cities are more walkable, and food is also more heavily regulated. For example, Stove Top, an American brand of stuffing, is banned in many other countries, according to Stacker. Many chemicals used in the stuffing, such as Red 40, BHT, BHA, and Yellow 6, are suspected to be carcinogens and are banned in other first-world countries in Europe. Europe is much more walkable than America because they were designed for walking or horse riding. According to Now We Explore, that walkability comes with many benefits. The Climate Reality Project reported that some benefits include more environmentally friendly cities, healthier bodies, creating communities, and being cheaper overall. 

For many people, America isn’t something they’re proud of but something they are disappointed in. Many people, especially young people, do not feel safe or welcome here due to many factors, such as the crime rate, developing political conditions that have led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, systemic racism, and other factors. There doesn’t seem to be any hope of that fact changing either- as it appears that things in our society are getting progressively worse, with the expulsion of two Tennessee representatives (though one has been reinstated) and other serious political events. Unless America fundamentally changes, more and more people will give up on seeing a future for themselves here and move somewhere else- where the grass is greener and safer.