What I have learned in my twenty years abroad is that we are delightfully diverse. Americans abroad reflect the homeland population - they come in all colors and creeds and work in a variety of occupations. In my time I've had the honor of meeting: retired military, professors, English teachers, writers, musicians, journalists, psychologists, laborers, small business owners, and IT professionals in Europe, Asia and North America. I can only guess at what I would find in Australia or South America but I bet you would find the same mix there too.
Back in 2011 I started asking myself if American abroad constituted a diaspora or not and I wrote this post An American Diaspora? Two years later I am even more convinced that there is one that has been quietly sleeping abroad outside of the consciousness of the American homeland.
Today that diaspora is waking up and organizing because of the challenges we are facing today with FATCA and citizenship-based taxation (and not just those things - there is a long list of issues we care about and we are learning to be vigilant when it comes to the homeland government and its wacky ideas).
I don't think it is a coincidence that we are now becoming the object of some serious research. Two books are coming out at the end of this year that I plan on reading as soon as they hit the shelves (or are available for download).
The Citizenship of Americans Living Abroad: Democracy and Those Who Leave by Dr. Katya Long.
I have no other information about this one but it looks fascinating and I am eager to get a copy when it comes out on January 15, 2014.
And finally this is a good place to mention once again a study that was published back in 1992. The authors spoke with Americans in Australia and Israel and did a comparative analysis. They asked and got answers to questions like: Why did they leave? Did they intend to stay when they arrived? Did they plan on coming back to the U.S. ?
Americans Abroad: A Comparative Study of Emigrants from the United States by A. Dashefsky et al.
Thanks for this, Victoria.
Re.: Americans Abroad, How Can We Count Them? - IIRC Americans Abroad a number of years ago tried to stitch together a rough estimate by looking at Americans in as many national censuses as they could come up with. (the Canadian 2006 census, for example, looked at citizenship, and counted Americans, at least self-identified Americans, along with )
In the long run this may be a better approach than having the US Census try to work extraterritorially.
Thanks for this info Victoria, will look forward to reading these. Re-reading a few articles about the difficulties of counting USCs abroad, I am struck by the attempts to get the word out in 2004. The GAO report states $7.8 million was spent in preparing, implementing and evaluating the 2004 test.
I am somewhat stymied by the fact that there has never been, to my knowledge, any similar effort made to educate USCs abroad as to FBAR, etc. A bit off-topic perhaps but just one of those little nagging things that continue to bother me.
Another book you should add to your must-read list is "The Unknown Ambassadors" by Phyllis Michaux, founder of AARO and of AAWE before that.
She describes the beginnings of the Americans abroad movement, giving generous credit to all involved. It is, as she once described to me, "a real page-turner". Out of print now, but often one can pick up an inexpensive used copy on one of the Amazons.
A good history lesson, and a reminder to us all that we are building on foundations set up by some pretty feisty folks.
I'm here at my Mom's house tracking the book on the census on Amazon. It's "in transit". Nuts. :-)
@Patricia and a Broken Man, I did get some more info about what happened with that 2004 attempt from someone who was there. It's a great story and once I read the book I will write a post about it (provided of course I get permission to pass along some of the info I received.)
@DavS, I have been wanting to read that one for a long LONG time. I'm going to add it to the above post and I will try to get my hands on a copy once I get back to my other home. Thanks for pointing it out.
In "The Greater Journey Americans in Paris",David McCullough writes about the Americans who went to Paris to learn and to work from the 1830's to the 1920's
Well, damn. It looks like we have the embryo of a book list for Americans abroad. I found some more titles on Goodreads that might be interesting....
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