How This Country Became Popular With American Expats

The convergence of economic factors and viral journalism often drives migration trends.

Jacob Grandstaff
4 min readOct 27, 2022


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The United States has always been one of the hottest destinations for immigrants searching for a better life. What’s not discussed asmuch is when Americans themselves move elsewhere in search of a better life.

When people think of emigration out of the United States, they probably think of middle-class or affluent Americans moving to Singapore, Australia, Canada, or the United Kingdom for business. Perhaps, EU countries also come to mind.

But in 2015, Ecuador topped the list of nations Americans moved to, according to the Association of American Residents Overseas (AARO). In fact, Americans made up more than half of Ecuador’s immigrant population at the time.

An Expat Insider survey found that 86 percent of immigrants in Ecuador were satisfied with their choice to live there.

It’s no wonder that Edward Snowden chose this country as his desired asylum destination.

Ecuador is still considered a developing country by the UN and World Bank. But it’s one of the better-off nations in that category, which makes its cost of living better than America’s while offering enough modern conveniences and safety to make it attractive.

Natural Beauty and Climate

It also sits in one of the most beautiful regions of the world.

Ecuador’s attractions include part of the Amazon Rainforest, the Galapagos Islands, the Sangay National Park, an ancient Incan road system, the Cotopaxi Volcano — among other peaks in the Andes, and the Incan ruins at Ingapirca.

Perks of Ecuador, besides its splendid natural beauty, are the fact that its language is Spanish, and it uses the US dollar as its currency — so, no exotic languages to learn or exchange rates to worry about.

Because it sits near the Equator, the country enjoys 12 hours of daylight year-round, with highs in the upper 60s to lower 70s (19–23°C).

The People

Nine in ten expats surveyed by Expat Insider agreed that Ecuadorians are friendly…



Jacob Grandstaff

MA in History; Mostly culture, trends, and occasional rants. History blog: