As part of our yearly investigation into global moving trends, MoveHub set out to see how the seismic political events of the last year have affected international relocations and people’s attitudes towards life abroad.

One of the most interesting trends spotted in this year’s report was the impact of social media in swaying hopeful expats’ destination preferences. As Denmark was named the world’s ‘happiest country’, international audiences started to pay attention to Danish culture and the trend of “Hygge” (pronounced hoo-gah) which prompted a surge in the volume of searches for “moving to Denmark” by 237%. Denmark is now one of the top 30 most popular countries to move to.

Encouragingly, we found that despite the recent trend of countries strengthening their borders, appetites for moving abroad have not wavered, especially among millennials. In fact, a survey we conducted on attitudes towards moving revealed that 88% of respondents felt that it was beneficial to live in another country. Although some of the reasons for this were economical, many also felt life abroad helped self-improvement, with 75% of those asked saying that moving abroad will give a new perspective on life. The most interesting result, however, was that 62% of those asked said that political events of the last year would not put them off wanting to live overseas.

This is not to say that political ramifications have had no effect on the nature of moving in 2017. The EU referendum in the UK, for example, has caused many British expats living in EU countries to come flocking back to their homeland. The number of Brits returning from Spain has risen by 32% on last year. It seems that many Brits living abroad feel uncertain about living abroad in a post-Brexit world.

Likewise, the election of President Trump has had an adverse effect on America’s popularity with expats. MoveHub’s own data has shown that for the first time in 4 years, moves to the US are down – a whopping 10% fewer expats moving to the US than in 2016. In the same vein, many US nationals decided that they too didn’t want to live in America under Trump, evident from the mammoth rise in searches of ‘how to move to Canada’ on the day after his election victory.

The US, once a haven for people relocating to start anew, is not the only country that’s now losing its reputation. Overall, moves to the most sought after countries of 2016 – the US, the UK and Australia – have all gone down in 2017. The UK was hit especially hard in 2017 with 22% fewer people moving there than last year. One possible explanation for this is that as the costs of property and consumer goods rise, many millennials seek a lower cost of living in countries that aren’t global superpowers.


Download the full report here