What Country Has The Largest Population Of American Expats?

Written by
Amber Hobert
Published on
September 16, 2022
Table of Contents

Americans Living Abroad

You might be wondering why anyone would want to leave the United States, especially someone who's an American. This is something that actually happens more than you think, and there are different reasons why Americans leave the United States. This article will cover some of these reasons and the most inhabited countries by Americans.

Reasons Americans Become Expats

There are currently over 8 million expats living in different parts of the world, and people have various reasons for becoming expats or leaving the United States. However, one of the most common reasons usually relates to family issues. There are cases where a sick sibling or parent who's overseas may be unable to get a Passport or Visa, and they choose family above anything else.

In such a situation, it's easily understandable why they choose to become an expat. For some, it simply lies in the desire to take up residency or citizenship in another country for business purposes. In other cases, it lies in the need to find a better life. As mentioned earlier, many American citizens live abroad. Still, they are not included in the total number of Americans as the United States does not count people that move to other countries.

With that, keeping track of American expats can be rather challenging. According to data gathered from the United Nations Population Division, the total number of Americans living outside the United States is about 2,996,223. On the other hand, the United States Department places the estimate at 9 million United States citizens in more than 160 countries. Even though there's yet to be a consensus, the fact is that the numbers continue to rise.

Additional reasons

Other reasons why U.S. citizens choose to live abroad include romantic relationships, research positions, and career opportunities. In other cases, it's because the country they are moving to offers a higher standard of living or a cheaper health care system with better health insurance.

Most retirees, especially those on a fixed income, prefer to immigrate to countries where the cost of living is lower. U.S citizens also move abroad for humanitarian causes, religious and political purposes, adventure, and cultural concerns. In some instances, it may even be to avoid legal issues.

Another thing to consider is that there are children born to foreign citizens in the United States. By birth, these children are citizens of the United States, but their parents may decide to take them back to their home countries at a young age. These citizens are usually called accidental Americans.

Where Are People Going?

For the reasons mentioned above, you might start to wonder where these people go to. Reports from the Association of American Residents Overseas (AARO) show that more than 160 countries have U.S. expats. Here are some statistics for their distribution:

  • 3% choose Africa.
  • 3% are in South or Central Asia.
  • 14% prefer the Middle East.
  • 14% travel to the Pacific and East Asia, including places like New Zealand, China, Australia, and Japan.
  • 26% move to Europe.
  • 40% choose the Western hemisphere, which includes South America, Central America, and Canada.

People move to these countries for various reasons, as described above. One thing to note is that these statistics do not include U.S military personnel.

Countries With The Most American Expats

Here's an overview of the countries that Americans like to move to and the population of Americans that you can find in these countries:


Mexico is a historically and culturally rich country that Americans like to move to. In addition, the country has an affordable cost of living, which is a factor that almost everybody looks at. There's always an activity for Americans in Mexico with different attractions and places to visit. However, even though it's a popular destination for Americans, it's worth noting that only about 10% of the country speaks English.

You can choose to learn their language if you decide to transition or move to Mexico. Another thing to note is that moving to this country doesn't mean you'll give up your current citizenship. There are about 800,000 Americans in Mexico, which accounts for about 28% of Americans abroad.


Canada is another of the most popular countries for American expats, and it lies in the northern part of North America. Americans like to move to Canada because of the stellar quality of life, low crime rates, accessible health, and... maple syrup! Another thing to note is that as an American, you can get dual citizenship if you move to Canada.

Today, about 280,000 American expats are in Canada, making up about 10% of Americans abroad.

United Kingdom

From the cultural diversity to the friendly people and thousands of years of history, there are so many reasons why Americans move to the United Kingdom. One interesting thing is that the United Kingdom is close to other European countries that you can visit during a vacation.

You can have dual citizenship in the United Kingdom, and today, there are more than 200,000 Americans in the U.K, which accounts for up to 8% of the population of Americans abroad.


The next place Americans like to live in is Germany. Even though the country is not English-speaking, it's worth mentioning that more than 56% of Germans understand English, which is why it's an excellent European destination for English-speaking nomads and expats.

You can also have dual citizenship while in Germany. Today, there are about 150,000 Americans in Germany, making up to 5% of the population of Americans abroad.


Another country where you can find many Americans is Australia. The primary language that is spoken in the country is English, which is why it's an ideal option for any American who wants to move to another country. With this advantage, you won't need to start learning another language.

Another impressive thing to note is Australia's quality of life, which is similar to what's obtained in the United States. American citizens can have dual citizenship while in Australia too. There are currently about 120,000 Americans in Australia, which accounts for 4.2% of Americans abroad.


Population statistics in Israel reveal that more than 10% of Israel's population live with dual citizenship, and for Americans, this is not a problem. The country has pleasant weather, a rich history, and a fantastic culture. The population of Americans in Israel is about 80,000, making up 2.8% of Americans abroad.

South Korea

You might be wondering why Americans move to South Korea. The reasons include the fact that they have amazing food and low living costs in South Korea. These are the main factors that attract most U.S. citizens.

Another reason is that Koreans are generally friendly to foreigners, and Americans can live in the country with dual citizenship. There are up to 68,000 Americans in South Korea today. This accounts for about 2.5% of the population of Americans abroad.


The country's capital is today considered the city of Romance. In addition to that, France has many cultural landmarks and great weather that has attracted thousands of Americans for many years now. Even though it's also not an English-speaking country, about 39% of the population speak English, and the country allows dual citizenship. Today, there are about 60,000 Americans in France, making up 2.2% of the population of Americans abroad.


Japan is not an English-speaking country, and less than 30% of the population speaks English. However, the language barrier doesn't stop people from moving to Japan. It is considered the land of the rising sun and offers plenty of cultural landmarks, unique dishes, and English support.

However, as an American citizen, you should be ready to sacrifice your citizenship if you want to move to Japan. To ascertain the level of difficulty in getting a resident permit in Japan, you may need to check the country's visa guide. Today, there are about 57,000 Americans in Japan, making up 2% of the population of Americans abroad.


This country is considered the land of culture and offers a beautiful landscape. Also, the cost of living in Italy is relatively affordable, and Americans like to visit to see the different historical monuments. An example is the Colosseum. The country is not English-speaking, but up to 35% of Italians can speak English. There are about 55,000 Americans in Italy, which also makes up about 2% of the population of Americans abroad.


Spain is another country where you can live with dual citizenship, but only 27% of the population speak English. The main reason why Americans like to live in Spain is the high quality of life, ease of getting a residence permit, and the fantastic climate of the region.

Another interesting thing about Spain is that they also offer digital nomad visas, especially for people who need a place to set up a camp. Today, over 48,000 Americans are living in Spain, which is about 1.8% of the population of Americans abroad.

The Philippines

When moving to the Philippines, you won't need to renounce your United States citizenship. There are so many lovely places in the Philippines that foreigners can visit, and in addition, it's one of the most cost affordable places to live in.

From the beaches to the different islands in the country, you can't get bored in the Philippines, which is one reason why Americans love to move to the country. Today, more than 35,000 Americans are in the Philippines, making up 1.3% of the population of Americans abroad.

New Zealand

Another popular destination country for Americans is New Zealand, and this is because they also offer dual citizenship, in addition to the other benefits that come with living in New Zealand. You don't necessarily need to become a New Zealand citizen before becoming a permanent resident of the country.

Today, there are more than 20,000 Americans in New Zealand, which makes up 0.8% of the population of Americans abroad.

Other Countries With American Expats

In addition to all the countries mentioned above, there are many other countries where you can find American expats, and they include the following:

  • Ireland: Here, you'll find more than 30,000 Americans, making up 1.2% of the population of Americans abroad.
  • Netherlands: There are also more than 30,000 Americans in the Netherlands. This also accounts for 1.2% of the population of Americans abroad.
  • China: In China, there are about 28,000 Americans, accounting for 1% of the population of Americans abroad.
  • Ecuador: Here, you'll find up to 26,000 Americans, which is about 1% of Americans abroad.
  • Peru: In this country, there are about 26,000 Americans.
  • Brazil: Brazil is also a welcoming destination for Americans; there are over 20,000 Americans in the country today.
  • Sweden: In Sweden, there are more than 20,000 Americans.
  • Greece: Greece also has over 20,000 Americans.
  • Chile has about 20,000 Americans.
  • Colombia has about 20,140 Americans.
  • Guam has about 20,000 Americans.
  • Norway has 19,000 Americans.
  • Americans also like to live in Africa and South Africa. There are about 18,000 Americans, up to 0.6% of the population of Americans abroad.

Looking To Become An American Expat?

These are various countries where you can find Americans today, and if you're considering moving, you can rest assured that you will find other expats to relate to. Mail forwarding for expats is one of the most common factors to consider when moving. This is because once you settle into another country, it's easy for your mail to get sent to your old address or the wrong address. Be sure to contact mail forwarding providers when deciding which country you'd like to move to!

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