‘Expatria’ the biggest country you’ve never heard of!

Here at the Expat Survey we take ‘expat’ to mean anyone who lives outside of their nation of origin for at least six months of any twelve month period. 

There are 232 million people living outside of their nation of origin but what do we actually know about them? Immigrant or expat, tax exile or asylum seeker, estimations vary wildly and the knowledge of a population of almost a quarter of a billion has proven shallow. The Expat Survey conducts independent research that aims to paint a more accurate and textured picture of a constantly changing landscape. To emphasise this dearth in intel, if we took the world’s expatriates and put them in a country, how would that country look and feel?

‘Expatria’ - our imaginary nation of expatriates/immigrants - would have a population of 232 million, rising from 154 million in 1990 and 175 million in 2000, according to UN statistics. This ranks Expatria as the fifth most populous nation on the planet, over three and a half times the number of people in the United Kingdom and sandwiched between Indonesia and Brazil - half the population size of the European Union. Expatria’s population growth rate of over a third since 1990 is matched by Brazil and Indonesia, two of the fastest growing economies worldwide.

The average age of the citizens of Expatria would be 38, being at their average youngest in Africa and oldest in Oceania. UN statistics estimate that 48% of the population would be women and 26 million of the residents aged 65+ years of age and proportionally greater represented than they are in the world population, 11% of the migrant population yet just 8% of the world’s population. Interestingly, 20-34 year olds represent 64 million people and also less females, which can be attributed to the transit of male migrant workers, especially those based in Asia.

The population of Expatria must be considered one of the most diverse on the planet. The largest proportion of people coming from South Asia, accounting for 36 million of the population, with about 19 million migrants living in Europe, some 16 million in Northern America and about 3 million in Oceania. The second and third largest groups coming from Central America and the Caribbean, 17.4 million Central Americans are living in the US.

Measuring the wealth of Expatria is difficult; however remittance figures estimated by the World Bank give some indicator of the economic power of expatriates worldwide. The World Bank estimates $435 billion will be sent in remittance in 2014, outweighing ODA (official development assistance) by a factor of three. Although being a crude comparison, this figure would project Expatria as a top 40 world economy in 2014 if taken as its GDP. This is without considering the estimated wealth of tax exiles to be found in the havens of Switzerland, Luxembourg and the like. A study conducted by economist James Henry suggests at least £13 trillion ($20tn) squirreled away worldwide, which would catapult its ranking amongst the top few.

The citizens of Expatria are workers in a diverse range of fields that have significant economic power. European immigrants (European Economic Area) in the UK have contributed £20bn a year from 2001 to 2011 according to a study conducted by University College, London. Not only are expats economic contributors but work in various sectors. In the case of the UK, The Telegraph states that migrants from within the EU primarily fulfilling manual work, in factories and farming, whilst Non-EU immigrants are prominent in professional roles in health and science.

The population of Expatria equates to 3.2%of the world’s population but what do we really know about them?

The understanding of Expatria is in black-and-white with broad strokes, while the UN suggest a worldwide population of extra-nationals in 232 million, independent research conducted by Finaccord suggests a figure 56 million worldwide in 2014. At least there are estimates for the size of this universe, beyond quantitative figures, little is known of the quality and composition of the lives of expatriates.

This article has highlighted that there is a massive population, globally-based, that people know very little about, and what is by no means concrete. In 2013, The Guardian estimated that ethnic minorities, 14% of the population of the United Kingdom, is not effectively marketed to by businesses, only emphasising the massive Expatria-shaped hole in market intelligence. The findings of the Expat Survey 2013 illuminated that expatriates spend more time on sites from their country of origin rather than sites of their country of residence; 70% still choosing to shop online from native sites. Statistics like these emphasise the inability of business to understand the spending habits of immigrant communities.

The deficiency of information highlights the need for independent research, the need for the Expat Survey. The English historian J. H. Plumb once stated, ‘statistics may give shadow and depth to the picture [yet] they cannot paint it.’ In regards to expatriate understanding, it is The Expat Survey that acts as the brush to paint the market’s landscape, to get the wants of a potential quarter billion understood by relevant and influential business.

William Purbrick
Sources: CIA Factbook , UN, The Guardian, The Telegraph, UCL, The Expat Survey 2013, Finaccord.

At The Expat Survey we define expatriate as any person of any nationality living outside of their country of origin for a combined total of more than 6 months in any 12 month period, on either a temporary or permanent basis.

Meet the criteria? Then the Survey is for you!

No other survey gives expats the opportunity to inform the way relevant business understand their fellow global nomads by improving the available data. Emma Wood, the Survey’s Project Director, explains our ethos:

‘We are dedicated to the interconnectedness of business, client and customer; expat voices are unique but not always the loudest in this dialogue - our research can improve the conversation.’

Cash Prizes, Amazon and Lebara Vouchers to be won.

This is all achieved without any of your details being passed on to any other party. The Survey is a committed expat-serving business, our helpdesk providing a year round touchstone for expats in need of advice or support.

The Expat Survey is comprised of three sections that can be completed individually:

| Migration and Lifestyle | Retail and Finance | Travel and Health

William Purbrick

Research and Digital Assistant

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About Us

TheExpatSurvey.com is the largest ‘independent’ annual research programme of those living outside their country of origin; and is a leading authority on what, when, why and how expatriates communicate and consume. Conducted online and by post, the study is based on three extensive surveys – ‘Migration & Lifestyle’, ‘Retail & Finance’ and ‘Travel & Health’ comprising more than 150 questions including invitations for expatriates to contribute open ended responses. In addition the team communicates with expatriates of many nationalities on the ground in more than 125 countries. The Expat Survey is owned and run by a team of qualified management, research and marketing consultants with more than 25 years’ experience on the expatriate segment. It is our objective to function as a proactive research hub occupying a neutral position between media owners, companies servicing expatriates and of course those that reside outside their fatherland for more than 6 months in any 12 month period. Our research unit is not tied to any one company or owned by any one media vehicle, it prides itself in collaborating with as many providers that service expatriates as possible, in order to raise the profile of the sector as a whole.