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The Rise of Black Expats

Black American Expat
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Would you live in another country? Well, there is definitely a significant rise of Black Expats. Maybe it’s time for us to open our minds to the possibility of living in another country. 

Imagine becoming an expat. An “expat” is a shortened way of saying, expatriate – a person moving abroad for an extended period of time. If you are Black American thinking about relocating outside of the United States, you would be joining with droves whose numbers are steadily climbing.

So, what is causing the rise in Black Americans moving out of the country? 

Whether due to being in the military, working on a corporate assignment, or simply being on vacation, the thought of moving to a foreign country may be appealing to Black Americans. What awaited them was a scenery all too seductive to resist. These are legitimate reasons one may get an idea to expatriate but, as romantic as this sounds, these aren’t the usual reasons for Black Americans. The greatest hits appear to be gentrification, access to medical care, civil unrest, pollution, better entrepreneurial opportunities, friendly neighborhoods, bigger homes, education for their children, lower taxes, etc. This all equals a higher quality of life. Let’s explore four of the main reasons for the rise of Black expats.

4 Main Reasons for the Rise of Black Expats

THE COST OF LIVING IN THE UNITED STATES

In the United States, there is a growing housing crisis. Rents have increased several times during the pandemic, while many wages have stayed the same. This “pinch” on the middle-class has caused them to thin out and has caused a significant increase in impoverished living by 131 million people. Mind you, there was already a housing crisis before the pandemic.

In addition to housing, other expenses have contributed to the instability of our land. Bankruptcy is problematic with the leading cause being illness. The excessive, high cost of medical care in the U.S. has literally financially devastated families. Food is another significant expense. Yes, there are cheap foods, however, they are usually quite unhealthy options. Poor eating contributes to diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer. Sickness leads to poverty. When one is barely scraping by – or not scraping by at all – investing in real estate can seem like a pipe dream. This further perpetuates the cycle of poverty – as the road to wealth in America has always been paved with owning property.

STATUS AND SOCIAL STANDING 

I can’t say that racism is nonexistent in these Black expat countries but it is nowhere nearly as bad as the racism in the United States. You don’t see or hear about the police beating unarmed Black men until they stop breathing or shooting them in the back while they’re handcuffed. 

Politics can be very sensitive in these countries, but it’s wise to just bow out of a conversation that does not involve you if you are living abroad. If you don’t bring it up, they won’t bring it up. The natives are not concerned about asking whose side you’re on or if you lean right or left. In the U.S., politics have broken up friendships and even marriages. People ask about your politics in an attempt to judge your value. It’s usually kept as a private matter abroad.

The processes of getting Visas or tourist cards for these popular, Black expat countries are fairly simple to understand. There are no avalanches of paperwork to keep you trapped in or out of their systems. You can come and go freely while still enjoying U.S. citizenship. 

Black Expat Article
Photo by Caique Silva on Unsplash

There’s no need to hide your Blackness or “code switch” just to seem less threatening. These other countries are attractive because of their acceptance. In the U.S., weird conversations directly aimed at a person’s education and occupation are investigative tools used to determine your socio-economic status and therefore your worth as a person. This intrusiveness is absent in popular countries for Black expats. A sense of connection and belonging is all that is desired from the natives.  

A NEW PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT 

Just visit the beach to beat the heat. The ocean is full of healing minerals and micronutrients to reduce stress, muscle pain, and skin irritations. The chemicals can improve thyroid function and strengthen the immune system. Meanwhile, you’re getting your daily dose of natural Vitamin D from the year-round sunshine. There’s no smog from heavy traffic for your lungs to battle. (Just a side note: I hadn’t thought about it until now, but the top 10 spots for Black expats are all near the beach and consistently have warm weather.)

A CHANGE IN SPIRITUAL ATMOSPHERE

Photo by Nathaniel Tetteh on Unsplash
Photo by Unplash

There’s something spiritually cleansing about releasing and letting go. The process of planning to move away, frequently picturing your new life, and then actually doing that can be a profound ritual for leaving your past behind you. You get the space and the freedom to heal without constantly creating new trauma. You finally escape survival mode so you can focus on your purpose in life, your joy, your peace, your prosperity. Now you find spiritual success.

WHERE IS EVERYBODY GOING? TOP COUNTRIES FOR BLACK EXPATS

  1. Colombia*

  2. Costa Rica

  3. Ecuador

  4. Ghana

  5. Mexico*

  6. Nicaragua

  7. Panama

  8. Portugal

  9. Italy

  10. Thailand*

*Don’t stamp your passport just yet. It’s important to note that some countries on this list are rated in the top, most dangerous countries in the world due to their rates of intentional homicide. Please do your own independent research before deciding to travel.

@speakerconsuela | Consuela Allen is a lover of words from written to spoken. Wherever words can be used to convey emotion, provoke thought, or simply encourage others on their journey of personal growth, you can find Consuela in the midst of communication. Consuela is a Certified Life-Purpose Coach, Certified Peer Specialist, Respect Institute Speaker, Ordained Minister, Songwriter, and former publishing administrator to multi-platinum music professionals. 

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