The Globalization of Americans

I have a small piece of proprietary data to share with subscribers today. It won’t be published on those sites that usually republish my posts. It’s small, but it is a hint of more to come.

As many of you know from my writing elsewhere, especially Barron’s, that I and my American firm have surveyed the American people on the subject of relocation overseas on several occasions over the years. We have the only database of this kind in existence. We use the services of a well-established, well-respected professional opinion survey firm [IBOPE-Zogby, formerly Zogby International] to implement these surveys of a statistically-valid sample of the American population.

From 2005 through 2007, we completed seven surveys. The last 2007 survey served as the basis of my article at Barron’s, my interview with Erin Burnett at CNBC, and so forth. In June of 2007, the US public was still quite optimistic. The term “sub-prime” had not entered their vocabulary, the real estate market still seemed strong, and there was no talk of a “global financial crisis”.

We did another survey in March of 2009. Now the US public was fully aware of the financial crisis and of the collapse in real estate values in the US. By coincidence, the stock market fell to its lowest levels since the crisis began in late 2007 during that month. We had gone from “good times” to “bad times” in less than two years. As I expected, the number of those who had made the decision to relocate and were actively planning relocation fell sharply. We have several categories for people responding. This is the smallest group. Five groups who are at different stages of interest (including those who plan to buy real estate, but not relocate) were quite stable. It was the people who were on the verge of moving who had taken the hit.

Two months ago in March, I decided to contract one more survey to see if things had changed. I wondered if the percentage actually in the final planning stages of relocation had returned to the level of 2007 (which was also the average for all seven of the earlier surveys), or at least had risen since 2009. The graph below shows the results.

That was a big surprise. We had never had a shift of such dimension. The one from 2007 to 2009 had held the record, but it was blown away by the latest survey. That 2.5%, by the way, represents nearly 3 million households (around 6.5 million people).

The survey results are also broken down by 23 different variables including income, age, marital status, gender and far more. I wanted to know if there was one variable that had made the difference or several. The results of my analysis have been accepted for publication at Barron’s, but since Barron’s is a print publication with severe space limitations, it could be weeks before it is published. My editor kindly has allowed me to share the results elsewhere, as I see fit, without losing my “place in line” for publication at Barron’s. We will see. I am considering various possibilities, but I do expect to be sharing at least some of the results with you in times to come. For now, I will leave it at this.

There has been a dramatic shift, one that caught me completely by surprise. I like that! The public never fails to amaze me and they have done it once again!


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