Americans Emigrating to Canada

Erica Alini highlights an Association for Canadian Studies report [PDF] showing the number of Americans emigrating to Canada has hit a 30 year high, with nearly 11,000 headed north.

Although the Canadian study does not provide statistics about the emigrants’ motivations, anecdotal evidence suggests that post-9/11 U.S. policies are a major drive for the move. Other reasons may include Canada’s generous healthcare system and Canada’s tolerance for gay marriage, as American emigrate Tom Kertes tells ABCNews.

That’s anecdotal, indeed, considering the ebb and flow in the numbers over the years:

USA-Canada Emigration, 1956-2006 TABLE

Despite a massively larger population, US migration to Canada is well short of where it was in the 1970s.

And then there’s this:

USA-Canada Emigration, 2000-2006 TABLE

Given that the net loss to Canada in each year far exceeds the number of Americans headed north, are we to infer that it’s because they prefer our anti-terrorism policies, health care system, and stance on gays? Or, perhaps, are there reasons other than politics that explain why people chose to move to another country?

FILED UNDER: General, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Triumph says:

    Yeah, Alini is nuts. The last time I was looking for a job a couple of years ago I applied to several Canadian companies–the sole reason was economic.

    Although, I did restrict myself to particular cities that I like–but the same criteria guided me here in the States. For me, there would have been no qualitative difference between Seattle or Vancouver; Portland, ME or Halifax, NS. Similarly, Moose Jaw, Sasaketchewan is probably just as dismal as Hattiesburg, MS.

    One of the problems with Canada, however, was the weakness of their “dollar.” Also, they have some really screwed-up immigration laws. If you’re from India or Malaysia you can get work visas really easy, but it seemed like there were a bunch of restrictions for Americans.

  2. The 1970’s were a bit of an aberration caused by young men fleeing the draft. Put in historical context, the immigration trends seem remarkably flat to declining if you factor in the growth in the size of the US population.

    This is non-news.

  3. yetanotherjohn says:

    Thanks for the laugh. One of the best examples of bias and projection I have seen in a while. Ignore that it is running 2x to 3x in the other direction and just assume that what chaps your hide is what motivates the minority.

    p.s. Triumph, while I hold no brief for Hattiesburg, I would prefer their balmier winters to Moose Jaw. I wouldn’t have been a contest to me.

  4. Paul Barnes says:

    From a Canadian perspective, I remember a few years ago (and this is still ongoing) that a major concern (in at least the media) was the “brain drain” of highly educated Canadians moving south for financial reasons.

    Basically, Canadians make thousands of dollars less than Americans (I have heard it is nearly 20 000 dollars, but that number does seems excessive, so take it with a grain of salt) and that many commodities cost more here than in the US.

    The high tax rate (over 50% of income goes to the various governments through taxes including sales taxes) drives many high income people away. And in Ontario, we have some of the most expensive alcohol in the world because the LCBO is a public corporation AND because of the huge amount of taxation on alcohol. In contrast, Quebec beer is almost half the price as Ontarian beer. Hey, I’m a student, I notice these things…

  5. Triumph says:

    And in Ontario, we have some of the most expensive alcohol in the world because the LCBO is a public corporation AND because of the huge amount of taxation on alcohol. In contrast, Quebec beer is almost half the price as Ontarian beer. Hey, I’m a student, I notice these things…

    The Barnster is totally right on about this!

    Booze is not only expensive as hell in Ontario, it is a pain to get. You have to go to these damn government stores.

    BC, however, is a bit more sensible.

    When I was considering moving to Canada, the taxes were less an issue for me, but it is true that salaries are generally lower. If you are in a high-skill position, however, you can make those Canucks pay–and they will.

  6. markm says:

    “Booze is not only expensive as hell in Ontario, it is a pain to get. You have to go to these damn government stores.” Brewers Retail Stores…your beer comes out of nowhere on a conveyor belt!!!. The suds are expensive but SOOOO damn good.

    The fishing is excellent as well in northern Ontario…thought neither beer nor the fishing are a good reason to move there…plus there are Canadians everywhere there eh?.

  7. Richard Gardner says:

    I suspect some of the northbound migration could be due to increased border crossing uncertainty and hassle due to the Department of Homeland Security (ICE) keeping us safe from Canadians (and vice versa). I wouldn’t be surprised if US firms with people working on both sides of the border haven’t decided to have representatives permanently on the Canadian side. Using the city pairings of Bellingham, WA and Vancouver, BC, fifty miles apart (Detroit and Windsor are even closer). If the stars are aligned, the trip takes a bit over an hour. Other times it can take over 3 hours due to border backups, and that assumes you don’t get pulled into secondary inspection on either side (though NEXUS Pass holders — frequent travelers — have separate lanes, sometimes the backup extends beyond the special lanes). Lots of wasted time.

    You also have many firms on both sides establishing offices in the other country, and usually some of the staff will be long-term employees. Canada is our largest trading partner.

    There are plenty of other possible factors to explain this.

  8. floyd says:

    BRAVO!!

  9. Wayne says:

    Anyone knows how many U.S. Citizens were allowed to migrate to Canada by Canada laws during these years?

  10. Tano says:

    We,, I agree it probably is based on lots of reasons, economics and the vagureies of life being the most prominent.

    But, not to pass up the chance to puncture some screwy logic…

    “One of the best examples of bias and projection I have seen in a while. Ignore that it is running 2x to 3x in the other direction…”

    Yes, but the population of Canada is 1/10 of the US. So the rate going north does far exceed the rate going south.

  11. floyd says:

    “”Yes, but the population of Canada is 1/10 of the US. So the rate going north does far exceed the rate going south.””
    “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””‘
    TANO:
    According to the chart above there is twice the number southbound as northbound! When population is factored in, it multiplies the southbound bias.
    So that a far greater percentage of Canadians come to the U.S. than the percentage of Americans going to Canada. RIGHT??

  12. Tano says:

    ah, yes.
    Thank you floyd.

    sorry for the brain fart….

  13. yetanotherjohn says:

    Tano,

    Please tell me that you are going to be helping the democrats prepare for next year’s presidential debates.

  14. Andy says:

    Well, I think alot of Americans move to Canada because there currency is better for long term growth plus some of the best wildlife preservation is there.