Why the British Are Moving Abroad

by Jose Marc Castro on August 4, 2009

whythebritisharemovingabroadThe Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2005 has indicated that nearly 13 million British nationals living overseas. British people also make at least 65 million overseas trips a year and many of these trips are preparatory plans to emigrate.

Rising Costs

The cost of living in London has skyrocketed in the past few years exacerbated by the current worldwide financial recession. London has been determined as the second most expensive city in the world to inhabit. This is one of the primary reasons many are leaving the UK as the need for a comfortable life more than what the money they earn in the UK can provide them. According to  the IPPR’s research in 2009, the most likely Brits to move abroad are young workers without families alongside retirees seeking to stretch the value of their small pension checks.

Another reason that contributed to the exploration of options beyond Britain’s borders are due to the prohibitive taxation laws that eat away on the income of those just about to starting to earn a living. This Added with the high petrol costs that affect transportation costs. This makes young ordinary Britons to work longer hours to keep their heads above water. This is why they seek other opportunities in other lands where they can lead better and more comfortable lives. This sentiment has been clearly voiced in one of the many posts located in the British Expat Forum last February 12, 2009:

“I think number 1 is the weather…lack of sunlight and constant rain makes most of the country depressing, miserable and aggressive (thats my theory!!)

and then i think high taxes and cost of living means you cant afford to do anything except watch the pathetic wannabe celebrities on tv.

The crime and violence may also be a factor…

Its not that bad really…I do love my homeland but I can just see how other countries with better weather can seem so appealing!”

British retirees also have established a new trend within their own group. Since many of these retirees have their own homes, they opt to either sell these properties or let them out to others for a fee. They sell either in the free market or to next of kin. The proceeds of the sale or the rental fees form part of the money used by these retirees as they search overseas for a more comfortable setting for their rest and recreation.

Increasing Crime Rate

Another reason why the British are moving abroad is the increasing crime rate in the country. Though current statistics indicate that the number of police recorded crimes fell by 5% between 2007 to 2008 and 2008 to 2009, the perception that citizens are not safe in their own country contributes to the migration. This perception about the violence comes from the increasing hooliganism due to drunkenness and the increasing numbers of alcoholics in the country with the lowering age of exposure to alcohol.

According to the Institute of Public Policy Research, twenty-seven percent of British youth are regularly drunk. This is four times higher than the rates in France and Italy, who score three and five percent respectively. This has caused grave concern with British authorities as the constantly increasing youth alcohol consumption over the past few years. 25% of all recorded offenses concerning driving under the influence have offenders in the 17 to 24 age range.

As reported in the British Expat Forum last February 17, 2009, the following statistics are present:

“In 2006, the US national average was 7 murders per 100,000 people. My data for Scotland and Glasgow was for 2004-5, and I had to do my own maths, but the Scottish national average came to 2.74 murders per 100,000 persons, and Glasgow itself only 5.5 per 100,000. Detroit’s average was utterly horrifying. Per 100,000 people, there are 47.3 homicides.

There was a total of 137 murders in Scotland in 2004-5, and the Scottish population was about 5 million at the time. The next year was safer, with 2005-6 seeing only 94 homicides in all of Scotland. Detroit, a single, not particularly large, American city, grossed 418 murders in 2006. Detroit has a population of about 900,000 people. With less than 1/5 the population of Scotland they had more than 4 times as many homicides.

Edinburgh, my beloved new home, had 11 murders in 2006-7. While any murder is a bad thing, this comes to 2.4 per 100,000 when Edinburgh’s 460,000 strong population is considered.

Obviously crime is not limited to murder, and other crimes are of concern. When combining all sexual and non-sexual violent crime for Glasgow in 2004-5 there were 850 violent crimes for every 100,000 individuals. In Detroit during 2006, there were 2,418.9 for every 100,000. The US national average for violent crime is 553.5 per 100,000. Scotland’s is only 370 for every 100,000 people.

The UK may feel like it has a crime problem, just like everyone else, but let’s retain a sense of perspective here. I for one walk very confidently on these Scottish streets, because frankly, I used to live 2 hours from the murder capital of the western world. The murder capital of Europe being an hour away really doesn’t concern me.”

Not only is there increasing crime in London, but in Scotland and Edinburgh as well. The issue is not the crimes itself, but the ratio of the number of violent crimes as against the population in the areas that makes this an alarming factor in living in the UK.

Other Reasons Why the British Are Moving Abroad

There are a myriad of reasons that Brits are considering immigrating to other countries aside from economics and crime statistics. Often, being stuck in traffic in freezing rain worrying all the time about mortgage payments and medical benefits for illnesses leads many to consider opportunities beyond the UK’s borders. Often, the choices that British make for their second home are countries with better and warmer weather, more value for money, lower tax brackets and greater room to get ahead in the game. Ultimately, the sense of hopelessness about the many problems facing the individual and the state pushes these Britons to make that choice, especially in the hard times of 2009.

Where the British Are Moving To

Many British desire to move to a certain place because of a desirable element in that location such as a warmer climate, lower crime rate, or perhaps the exotic appeal of the place. The biggest populations of Britons outside their country are located in Australia, Spain, USA, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, France, Germany, and Cyprus.

The Britons Abroad

Britons abroad exhibit similar characteristics anywhere. In other English-speaking countries such as the USA, Australia, and Canada, they tend to be dispersed and intermingled with the rest of the populace. Whereas in places where English is not widely used, Britons tend to flock in a single place, forming small British villages of their own.

Why Some Britons Come Back

The main reason, according to the Daily Mail in 2009 that people return to the UK is their longing for the company of family and friends as when they are in the foreign land, the new surroundings and lack of relationships are unnerving to many of these would-be world travelers. The secondary reasons include financial worries as well as inability to find employment in the host country made them decide to pack their bags and return home.

Others cite the inability to assimilate themselves in the language and culture of the host country made them decide to return or some other personal reason because of the lack of both mental and emotional preparation by the individual on the journey and location ahead.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mario December 4, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Why do you brits keep on insisting playing the game that “everything is MUCH worse in the US therefore we don’t have to deal with our own problems”?? This was the same game the French used to keep their minorities in line until things errupted there a few years ago. Europe’s obsession with trying to make the US look like a hell hole on earth so that it doesn’t have to deal with its own problems (and to also keep its own restless minorities in place) could explain why Europe (and the UK in particular) has so many increasing problems: crime, racism, pollution. All these things are improving in the US but becoming worse in euroland. Brits and europeans are far too far-sighted to recondize the horror in their own backyards. BTW, from all the latest studies that have come out of the UN, FBI, Home Office, and other European studies, the overall crime rate in the US is lower than in the UK. I’m not sure where the article got it’s statistics from. Murder is not the only crime. And 80% of murders in the US are committed by gangs. You’ll be enjoying your murder rate skyrocket if you don’t mind your own business.


Jack December 7, 2009 at 6:07 am

Your crime statistics comparing the US with the UK are erroneous. The UK has a higher overall violent crime rate than the US. Check out latest Home Office, FBI, and UN reports. Murder is not the only crime one can commit. The rate rape in Canada is 3x higher than the US. London has 18x the crime rate as New York City. Oslo’s crime rate is 4x higher then NYC. Get with the times.


samuel welsh August 15, 2011 at 5:44 am

its good apart from thier idot drunks,which we dont want.


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