According to InterNations survey data from their 2017 Expat Insider report, the United States ranked 41st as a top destination according to expats themselves. The top 10 countries per expat interviews were:
- Costa Rica
- New Zealand
Others out in front of the U.S. were Vietnam, Oman, Ecuador and Kazakhstan! The year prior, the U.S. ranked 35th. So, what makes the U.S. such a challenging country for incoming expats?
Part of the challenge could be that the United States is a massive country that is regionalized from a cultural perspective. The map in this article shows the U.S. really has 11 separate 'nations' with entirely different cultures. These 11 sub-nations impact the expat experience and make cities across the country very different from one another. The first idea of these 11 sub-nations were proposed in a book entitled, "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America," by Colin Woodard. The book explains that North America was settled by people with distinct religious, political and ethnographic characteristics, creating regional cultures that have been at odds with one another ever since.
The 11 sub-nations have been given names and they are:
- Yankeedom: comprises New England, upstate New York, and much of the industrial Midwest, from northern Pennsylvania to Minnesota.
- New Netherland: is the name for the greater New York City area — encompassing the city itself as well as northern New Jersey and part of Connecticut.
- The Midlands: extends from Quaker territory in Pennsylvania and Delaware through populated Midwestern areas in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, down through the Plains states of Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas, and stretching out to include parts of Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and New Mexico. It includes some of what we consider the American Heartland and Middle America.
- Tidewater: includes coastal areas of colonial states such as Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.
- Greater Appalachia: from southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia, through the lower Midwest, down through Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, into Oklahoma and Texas.
- Deep South: spans from rural North Carolina, through South Carolina, Georgia, northern Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, northern Louisiana and eastern Texas.
- New France: The New Orleans area, a progressive hub nestled in the Deep South.
- El Norte: southwestern Texas and the Mexican border regions in New Mexico, Arizona and California.
- The Far West: includes land in the western Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and the eastern halves of Washington, Oregon and California. It also includes Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska.
- The Left Coast: runs up the Pacific coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington, and also includes Juneau, Alaska, and coastal British Columbia.
- First Nation: mostly the Arctic areas in Alaska and northern Canada.
Obviously, every city in the U.S. has a unique vibe due to it's history, heritage, culture, topography, weather, real estate market and economy. And, all of these things combine to create some amazing variation with regard to expatriate experiences. Has this impacted your mobility program? Have you had to design or consider specific support for expats moving into a particular area of the United States?
Recognizing the distinct values of each region is critical to understanding the United States, Woodard said. "The country has been arguing about a lot of fundamental things lately, including state roles and individual liberty," Woodard, a Maine native, told Business Insider in 2015. "In order to have any productive conversation on these issues, you need to know where you come from," he said. "Once you know where you are coming from, it will help move the conversation forward."