The land of the supposedly unlimited possibilities has long ceased to be the first choice for Germans willing to emigrate. For the first time in almost three decades, the number has now dropped below the 10,000 mark. Still, the US is still one of the top three most popular emigration destinations.
The USA has lost its attractiveness for Germans willing to emigrate. Last year, for the first time since 1982, fewer than 10,000 gave up their place of residence in this country to move to the United States, according to the Federal Statistical Office. 9782 of the total of 270,294 German emigrants went to the USA, which corresponds to a share of 3.6 percent. In 2016 – the last year of the US presidency of Barack Obama – 12,781 or 4.5 percent of the then 281,411 emigrants chose the United States as their new home.
“Despite the downward trend, the US was still one of the top three emigration targets last year,” said the Federal Office. “Only the neighboring countries of Switzerland (16,340) and Austria (11,904) attracted more Germans.” Since 2015, fewer Germans have emigrated to the United States every year. In 2004 they took first place on the popularity scale for emigration destinations for the last time. At that time, 12,976 Germans moved there.
Since 2017, more people have moved from the United States to Germany than vice versa. Before that, there had been consistently net emigration of German people to the USA since 1991. “Whether the move to the United States is permanent or the United States is only the adopted home for a limited period of time can certainly not always be answered at the time of the move,” emphasized the statisticians. In 2019, 19,186 Americans moved to Germany. However, that was 1087 fewer arrivals than in the previous year.
Anyone who is naturalized has arrived in the United States permanently. In 2019, 4,745 people from Germany were naturalized there. Conversely, 1,205 Americans acquired German citizenship – but that was 62 percent more than in 2018.