Thinking of Leaving the United States?-Pulled or Pushed?

This afternoon I was reading a post on the Boquete Ning site that had a link to a PDF entitled “America’s Emigrants”, got curious and downloaded the file. It was a study made in 2006 and although times and reasons for leaving may have changed, the basics may still hold true for many. I felt it was worth my time to try to distil my thoughts on the study so others who are thinking of moving or already have moved can see how others have arrived at their decisions on leaving the US or not.

Factors Considered in the Movegot my attention since my wife Kris, my mother Elizabeth and myself have had many discussions before and after our move here to David on the same subject.

Pushed or Pulled— (I hadn’t thought of moving in quite those terms)…

Push” factors (high cost of living in the states) and “Pull” factors (low-cost of living In the new country) were terms I hadn’t used but I can see why research traditionally identifies them as characteristics. Politics, political stability, policies (tax, visa, property) and a host of other factors could also affect the migration choices to move abroad and where to move to. Medicare’s non-portability across borders can affect the decision-making, we certainly gave it some thought.

The United States was becoming a “Police state” and “Big-Brother government” were mentioned as “Push” factors as was the lack of transparency in US policymaking along with a sense of anxiety after 911.

On the other side of the coin, a major “Pull” factor brought up were the benefits offered to “Pensionado” visa holders and seniors. Beneficial Panamanian tax and foreign property ownership policies were also considered important “pulls“. Exemptions from Panamanian taxes on money earned abroad or through work abroad  again were “pulls“. Panama’s stable economy and financial sector along with the convenience of the use of the US dollar added to Panama’s attractiveness.

Here are some direct quotes from the study done in 2006:

One man explained that he paid $160 a month for in-home care for his mother in Panama—care that would cost $5,500 a month in the United States.”

“One participant in Panama explained that he had paid out-of-pocket there for extensive heart treatments at the cost of a year’s worth of insurance in the United States.”

“Focus group participants in both locations indicated that the quality of medical care available was a strong consideration in their moves, and they generally said they had looked into medical care before coming. They said they had access to good, English-speaking doctors, some of whom had been trained in the United States, and good medical facilities, though these were not universally available in the host countries.”

“Approximately three-fifths in Panama listed
some type of economic consideration as their number one factor.”

“Nearly half of participants in Panama listed climate as one
of the top factors influencing their decision to retire abroad,,,,”

“Participants in Panama cited the lack of severe weather or natural disasters in the country, noting that some Floridians, tired of hurricanes,
recently retired to Panama.”

“Others in Panama spoke of the geographic diversity of the country,
including mountains, beaches, cities, and countryside.”

I’ll not add any personal comments or anecdotes today, I’m going to stop for now, I will write more on this tomorrow. Hope your found this post interesting, and possibly thought-provoking, even if you disagreed with the content.

Please feel free to comment, criticize, or just generally lay out your opinions, experiences or thoughts:)




10 thoughts on “Thinking of Leaving the United States?-Pulled or Pushed?

  1. Thinking of Leaving the United States?-Pulled or Pushed? | The Panama Adventure

    • I’ll be writing more, I’ll see if I can find some more recent information. Many feelings probably still apply
      about reasons to leave/come to a place. Thanks for the comments.

    • Hi Edgar, We have many friends who say they are interested in leaving but only we have actually left so far. If you know some basic Spanish it makes a big difference, many Panamanians know some English and hand gestures one can communicate, but, being conversational in Spanish would be great (I’m not but Kris, my wife is. Cheers, Joel

  2. Thinking … I may want to visit Panama! Serious I found this post interesting because many from my country went to panama during the building of the canal, therefore Panama featured in stories told by my grandparents.

  3. Thanks for writing-I’ve read that many from Barbados worked tirelessly, many losing their lives working so they could make 10 cents an hour and send much of it to their families back home. I would imagine that seeing the canal could bring up a deep feeling of pride as well as other feelings yet to see daylight.
    Cheers, Joel

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