Demographics of British expats across the world

Demographics of British expats across the world

Demographics of British expats across the world

When it feels like you’re the only one getting up and going – you’re most certainly not alone!

Much has, and no doubt will be, written about expats from across the world arriving in the UK, but those giving up and leaving aren’t getting nearly as much media attention. According to emigration totals, even although the numbers of Brits leaving the UK and settling overseas has slowed down, some 121,000 upped stick and went in the twelve months to last September. In fact, the British expat population has been expanding over the past 30 years, with just under five million UK expatriates in 2017 as against the 3.8 million in 1990.

Surprisingly, the British government keeps no records of the number of UK expats living, working or retiring overseas, with available figures being cobbled together from destination countries’ census results. Ahead on points, the United Nations’ regular ‘global migrant stock’ set tracks the numbers of diverse nationalities living in different countries and gives a fairly clear picture of who went where from where. For example, Australia is now home to 1.35 million UK citizens, over one quarter of all British expats. In fact, Oceania is the favoured continent for Britons, with more in New Zealand and Oz’s combined total than in all the EU member states put together.

America, prior to 2016 the land of the brave and the free, has just 748,000 Brits in residence, with Canada hosting 624,000 and Spain on 309,000. Amazingly, Chile’s total of UK expats in 1990 was just 1,428 but the 2017 total reaching an astonishing 18.901 – an increase of 1,200 per cent. Asia’s done well as regards expat havens, doubling its number of UK citizens from 127,217 to 280,722 during the same time period, but Africa has seen a large number of British ex-colonials getting out and going home.

One of last year’s expat surveys classified expats’ details by age, marital status and time spent overseas, coming up with an average age of ten years older than previously. The majority are in relationships, with 37 per cent having lived abroad for ten years or more. In addition, 25 per cent of Brit expats are past retirement age, and the overall reasons for leaving the country of birth were firstly a better quality of life, secondly for love and thirdly for a specific job.

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