Over time, all demographics change – this is just the way of things. Whereas once the expatriate was probably quite a limited demographic in terms of attributes, it’s become something much more complex, nuanced, and dynamic.
In times past the typical expatriate would have been a staff member of a certain skill level and rank, and likely have been sent on an assignment to one of a (small) number of established expat destinations.
These days, though, expats are a more varied bunch – from intrepid world travellers settling in one place that they especially like, to prosperous retires looking to relax in a sunny and cultured location – and whole social hubs, online networks and services have sprung up around them.
Expatriate numbers and the near future
While nobody can actually predict the future, it is possible to identify trends and make educated guesses as to what the next few years broadly hold in store. And most reports suggest that the amount of people going abroad for work should continue to rise over the next few years.
Staying abroad for good?
A recent survey into expatriates and their intentions found that the number of people living abroad who see their stay as indefinite has risen. And not just by a couple of percentage points either. No, in fact a full 20% more people now believe that they will be abroad on a permanent basis.
The reasons for this haven’t (yet?) been researched but it looks like it could be a number of factors. Respondents who are based in countries that are doing well economically may be more apt to decide on staying. And another reason people might want to stay abroad could be down to excahneg rates and property prices making the destination country just too good a deal to quit.
Another contributing factor to the numbers of expats is likely to be that as the population ages, more and more people reach retirement age – and therefore the numbers of people seeking a retirement as an expatriate will increase accordingly.
Nobody has yet written the equation for what makes a happy expatriate, but the main ingredients will be things like whether the individual feels compatible with the country’s climate and lifestyle (nobody who can only tolerate a warm climate will love Scandinavia, for instance) plus basics like the education (if they have children of school age) plus healthcare provision, and general amenities available.
About the author: Jen Jones writes on overseas medical insurance and health topics for a number of blogs and websites.
Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/meganfitzgerald/4492622065/