Escape from America…to France? Why?
The joke here among Expats is that the ‘number one American dream is to live in France.’ Of course, it’s natural we’d all think that way since it was OUR number one dream and here we are…living it. But the truth of the matter is we’re not as important as we think we are.
In a Huffington Post article this past March, Nick Robins-Early explored where Americans would actually ‘have the most company’ in an article titled “Looking To Escape America? Here’s Where You’d Have The Most Company.”
Organizations like International Living and Escape Artist talk some about Europe but lots more about Central and South America where the living is cheap, targeting retirees on a budget. Economics drives a lot of emigration…as well as the lack of language barriers.
France isn’t among the top 10 destinations, with only 54,0000, surprising to us who think there’s simply no better place to live!…But what do we know?
Mexico tops the list with 849,000 American immigrants who have headed south for warmer weather and a less expensive lifestyle. Second to that is Canada, thanks to easy visas and inexpensive universal healthcare (take note Americans who are against this idea!) with 317,000 American immigrants. It’s not surprising that Britain is enjoying a wave of Americans with 222,000 immigrants where the language is English and economy is strong, but it is surprising how many are off to Germany with 111,000 immigrants. Now that the Nazi regime is long gone, Germany is looking like a pretty cool destination.
Lots have headed to the other side of the globe to Australia to enjoy its beautiful beaches and contemporary lifestyle, with 90,000 Americans. Israel follows closely behind with 80,000. Do you think they are all Jewish? Maybe not! Russians are still the largest group of immigrants to Israel, in spite of what the media want you to believe about the French emigrating there by the droves. According to the map there are 43,000 French now living in Israel.
What ‘blew me away’ is the number of Americans living in South Korea now — 72,000 — but we forget the U.S. troops contributed 29,000 of them, while South Koreans headed to the U.S. And in spite of Pearl Harbor, Americans are invading Japan with 60,000, as are the Brazilians (what beautiful babies those two will make, no!?)
Italy beat France for American immigrants with 60,000, tied with Japan, we suppose because of the allure of pasta and perhaps their family ties? Meanwhile the French are finding lots of havens around the world, but mostly close to home. While 180,000 have emigrated to the U.S. and 101,000 to Canada, 216,000 have landed in Spain, 156,000 in Belgium, 150,000 in Switzerland, 147,000 in Italy, 139,000 in the U.K., 124,000 in Germany and 94,000 in Portugal.
That’s a lot considering the population of France is currently about 65,000,000…but it’s growing, too. The prediction is that by 2050, the population will be in excess of 72,000,000. Immigration into France is largely represented by those from Algeria, Morocco, Portugal, Italy, Spain and Turkey, however, Asians and Africans are also gaining in numbers…but Americans? Barely.
Why do we want to live in France? Clearly not for economic reasons. With the high cost of living, the difficulty of finding a job or starting a business, France doesn’t look like a destination destined for prosperity. “Au contraire.” But for Americans where money has been the focus of their lives and what they want is something richer, more cultured, more esthetically pleasing, then France has the goods that most other places on the planet don’t.
Will France no longer be a home for the French? While the young French are leaving for greener pastures, will the immigrants be moving in and taking over, changing the face of France forever?
One could study the Migration Policy Institute infinitesimally and fascinate oneself for a lifetime and we could make all sorts of judgment calls about why a particular group of people emigrate or immigrate to where and when, but let’s first consider ourselves — we Americans who have fallen in love with France, despite its failings.
Do you know why you have? Tell me in 25 words or less: “Why I live, or want to live in France.” Email me at: [email protected].
The best of the bunch will be published in an upcoming Parler Paris or Parler Nice!
A la prochaine…
Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC
(1973 in Israel)
P.S. It opens tomorrow! While you’re in Paris, don’t miss Jim Haynes’ “Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut,” here for 11 performances only from April 17-26, 2014 from a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe. The play is a lovingly disrespectful homage to the classic film, with a “superb multi-tasking cast” whisking you back to Morocco 1941. Théâtre Déjazet, 41, boulevard du Temple, 75003 Paris, Métro: République. Tickets 25 and 30, Group bookings 20, Students 18. For dates and times visit http://www.dejazet.com. Bookings call 01.48.87.52.55.01
P.P.S. Did you see yesterday’s House Hunters International show? What do you think about my having my own show on HGTV? If you agree, post a message on the HGTV Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HGTV Many thanks!