Trendspot: A Potential Influx of Expats

Regardless of how you feel about the way that the US presidential election turned out, there is one fact that seems fairly indisputable … the world outside of America overwhelmingly supported Obama over McCain. One site in particular that crystallized this truth is called www.iftheworldcouldvote.com. The site invites people outside of the US to share their choice for president and nearly 1 million people from 213 countries shared their votes with the results about 87% in favor of Obama. Add this to the dozens of groups (many with thousands of members each) on Facebook all supporting Obama and you could point to a definitive pattern of support from outside the US for Obama.

So now that he has won the election, what is this likely to mean? Hopes were high even before the results of the election about the potential impact on America’s reputation that Obama’s election could have. Some media outlets are already reporting about widespread optimism and goodwill towards America that has not been seen since the days directly after 911.  In my own network of friends and colleagues living outside the US, there is one interesting development in particular that I think may shape this country in the next few months and years to come. Many people with ties to the US (or longstanding dreams of living here) who are currently living abroad are now actively considering moving back.

Of course, the economic climate means that they’re not yet moving back in big hoardes, but as I speak to more and more of my international friends … the common theme on many of their minds is that they are now seriously thinking of returning – and it is directly related to the results of the election. Is this big enough to warrant a trend or just a few early thoughts from a small circle of people? I get the sense it may turn into a trend, but I’m willing to admit that my network may not represent the situation in the real world. What do you think – is America more appealing today to those who left, and will they start to come back?

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