This is one graph that speaks for itself, very simply and very clearly. The shift from self-identified non-investors to investors could not be clearer.
In one sense, it is not especially surprising during this time of financial crisis in the US. It might be expected that Americans who identify themselves as “investors” have more substantial financial resources available for relocation than non-investors. Although you certainly do not have to be rich to relocate to another nation, it is still cheaper and easier just to pack your bags and travel to another part of the US.
Those Americans who have never thought of relocation outside the US are obviously not candidates for relocation. Perhaps investors, who more and more frequently purchase stocks, bonds, commodities and other financial instruments that are global or non-US in nature, are more likely to think in “global” terms when it comes their own residency than those who do no such investing. Investors may be “following their investments”.
And of course, some may argue that this means “the wealthy are fleeing the country” in rejection of economic policies in the US. Well, perhaps some are, but the wealthy are not so large in number that they could explain a shift as great as this. And, as our income group statistics make clear, relocation is not at all limited to wealthy people.
Middle-class Americans have become very active in investment and speculation over the last few decades. By definition, they are not wealthy. Their parents might have referred to their primary investment in the past as their “nest egg” and not considered themselves to be investors, per se. With the wide-spread adoption of on-line trading and the huge increase in various investment possibilities in recent years, their adult children today may now see fit to call themselves investors with investments, leaving behind “nest egg” as an out-of-date term.
In all cases, not just this one, it is important to take all the various variables into consideration (marital status, income, education, etc.) and not assume that one variable alone can describe a relocator. However, given that non-investors have only returned to their 2007 level while investors have tripled, there is no doubt that this variable is one of those making a significant contribution to 2011′s higher relocation totals.