American (U.S.) Expatriates

I was hoping someone could answer these questions, or point me in the direction of the answers. I’m not seeking information on rules or procedures, just numbers.

Approximately how many United States citizens move abroad each year? How many U.S. citizens are there currently living abroad? How many of these renounce their U.S. citizenship in favor of their adopted country, and how many seek dual citizenship? What nations are the most common destinations for American expats?

Thank you in advance for the enlightenment. :slight_smile:

According to this article (requires registration):

“There are no firm statistics on the number of U.S. citizens who live abroad, with estimates from various government and private groups ranging from 3 million to 10 million. U.S. officials are attempting to count Americans in Mexico and several other countries, with great difficulty. It is widely believed that Mexico is the country with the largest population of expatriate Americans – the embassy here estimates the number at 350,000, but others say it could be a million or more.”

The US frowns on dual citizenship, and typically only accepts it if the laws of the person’s original country require them to retain citizenship.

This information is found on the US Immigration site:

I think that what that cite is saying is that the US accepts the existence of dual citizenship only because it recognises that (many) other countries accept it. There is no provision in US law for natives of any country to give up their native citizenship in order to obtain US citizenship.

You may be able to find out by contacting American Citizens Abroad:

American Citizens Abroad (ACA)
5, rue Liotard
CH-1202 Geneva, Switzerland
Phone and fax: (41) 22 340-0233
E-mail:; website:

I’m curious to how many of the alleged Americans in Mexico are of non-Mexican heritage? I ask because, well, it’s hard to tell. Yeah, facial appearance.

For the record, I intend to one day be an expatriate American living in Mexico. Hopefully with dual citizenship, mostly so I can vote PAN. In any case, it’s where I plan to retire. If I can manage to become governer of Guanajuato (first choice) or Colima (second choice), then so much the better :).

There is a website called The Expat Exchange that may be useful given the nature of your questions, although I’m not sure it covers any of your exact questions. I occasionally used this as a guide/reference during my expat days. It has a decent amount of info about expat life and a bulletin board of sorts for people to ask questions or exchange information with other expats. If you’re considering going the expat route it’s a good place to start.

Might help if you give a general description of what “expat” means.

Any US citizen that lives in another country? From businessmen, to backpackers to sunbirds living off of SS in a trailer park in Mexico? Or is it business people and their families who have “expatriat” working status (tax equilization, home leave, housing, and other expatriat type benerits).

Obviously business expats are a small subset of the total US citizens abroad.