Go to contents

More Americans leave the U.S. for Europe

Posted September. 08, 2023 08:35,   

Updated September. 08, 2023 08:35


"In Europe, you don't have to worry about being shot for being black." That's what Stanley and Sylvia Johnson, an African-American couple who moved to Portugal last year, told The Economist. The highly educated couple, a psychiatrist and a lawyer, explained that they moved to Europe with their children due to racism and discrimination in the United States. They pointed to the murder of George Floyd, a black man who was choked to death by a white police officer in 2020, as a decisive factor.

On Sunday, The Economist reported on the surge of Americans who, like the Johnsons, are moving to Europe to 'escape the U.S.' With the American dream crumbling due to political and economic polarization, racism, and mass shootings, many are finding satisfaction in Europe's less competitive work environment, long vacations, relatively low housing and living costs, and excellent welfare systems.

The average American worker typically works at least 35 hours a week. In contrast, European workers average only 30 hours, with the Netherlands averaging only 27 hours. For instance, in France, many workers take more than a month of summer vacation. Additionally, comparing the high cost of housing and living in major American cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, it becomes evident that many European cities are more affordable than their U.S. counterparts.

"Americans are very satisfied with the work-life balance in the Netherlands," according to the John Adams Institute, an American-Dutch cultural venue. The fact that English is spoken almost everywhere in Europe is also appealing to many Americans.

One of the most popular countries is Portugal, known for its low cost of living and rich cultural heritage within Europe. In 2013, there were only 2,800 Americans living in Portugal, but today, that number has grown to nearly 9,800. After enduring the 2008 global financial crisis and the 2010-2011 Southern European debt crisis, Portugal actively started attracting foreigners by granting residency visas to those earning more than 1,100 euros, which is approximately 1.57 million won, per month to stimulate the economy. During the same period, the number of Americans living in neighboring Spain increased from 20,000 to 34,000, while the number of Americans in the Netherlands also increased from 15,500 to 24,000.