what the study is about

American service-members are sent all over the globe. When they leave active duty, a surprising number of them take up life as expatriates, some of them forever. Why do they stay/move abroad? Where do they live? How long do they intend to remain there? What are their lives like as expatriates? Our goal in this study is to identify:

  • areas where expatriate veterans live and work
  • their motivations for living abroad
  • their intentions regarding repatriation to the US
  • how the US government can better serve their needs while they are living abroad
  • key demographic characteristics such as age, employment status, gender, marital status, and citizenship 

why it matters

Anecdotal evidence suggests that one of the largest groups of Americans who decide to retire overseas are military veterans. It should come as no surprise: many military personnel spend large chunks of their career living abroad, they frequently speak two (or more) languages, and they are culturally adjusted to living overseas. Plus, living "back home" in the US often seems boring and mundane compared to the adventure they once experienced on active duty.

Despite the potentially large size of this population, expatriate veterans are an almost completely unstudied segment of the US citizenship that is of considerable interest to social science and to policymakers. Knowledge about this important population may help provide better services to US veterans.