Thursday, June 3, 2021

Where do U.S. retirees really emigrate to? It’s not what international real estate purveyors would have you believe.


  Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia. Canada is the preferred destination of U.S. retirees.

While I have addressed International Living and Real Estate Trend Alert before, there are many other vendors of foreign real estate fantasies and get-rich-quick-schemes with their hyperbole about Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Vietnam, etc. 

Every year, though, the U.S. Social Security Administration summarizes the number of Americans in other countries receiving social security benefits, and it paints a much different picture. These are retirees, spouses and those who are on disability. In 2019 the Social Security Administration was mailing checks to 682,888 Americans outside the U.S., an impressive number, but most of the destinations don’t seem to be the ones constantly promoted by Katherine Peddicord or International Living

Where in the Western Hemisphere have the most U.S. retirees moved to? Canada. There were 110,626 retirees receiving social security and SDI checks there, although some of these retirees may have already been Canadian, and were returning home with U.S. social security benefits. 

What about the Latin American hot spots constantly featured in the real estate fantasy magazines? Costa Rica – 2551, Panama --2799, and Ecuador – 3879 U.S. retirees. One exception is Mexico, with about 60,000 retirees, but some of these may also be Mexican citizens returning home after a career in the U.S. 

Thailand and Vietnam are mentioned as the hottest retirement hot spots in Asia. The number of retirees is 7262 in Thailand and just 556 in Vietnam. Where in Asia are the most U.S. retirees? Japan, with more than 90,000. 

Portugal and Spain get mentioned as the hottest European retirement hot spots, but Portugal has just 12,910 U.S. retirees and Spain has 12,732. The leading European nations in attracting Americans are Germany (40,000) and the United Kingdom (37,500).

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