The stress of being one medical emergency away from bankruptcy is something many Americans are not ready to live with.
Some Americans are talking about wanting to leave the country for Europe and it's a telling sign of the times we live in. Many who took the decision say it's ironic that they had to move abroad to achieve the 'American dream.' Better pay, affordable healthcare, housing, education and better working conditions were some of the factors that motivated them to move. The ongoing mass resignations across industries over poor pay and toxic working conditions, dubbed 'The Great Resignation,' have highlighted how workers have had enough of the current system. Reddit user u/Frozenchair asked, "People who want to move from America to Europe, why?" and the responses are an eye-opener. Here are some of the top responses we came across:
"I moved to Europe 7 years ago. Our motivation at first was having children without going into debt. After living here a few years we were able to buy a house with property. Live a lifestyle that was once considered the American dream. I important distinction is that we/I found that life was more basic here. Less materialistic. People still have gardens, walk to places they want to go. Christmas is about family and not about how many gifts you got. I just find it to be a more sustainable environment for my family. -u/Netwelle.
Still trying to get used to my five weeks of vacation. The three weeks this summer with my family were incredible. Still having two weeks to spend with them at Christmas, is beyond belief. All vacation is paid vacation. And it is standard everywhere. Oh and the two-hour lunch, and 32-hour workweek. I think this is literally going to add up to years more with my family. Since I think time with my family is the most important thing, this just makes the quality of life here so much higher. I don't know if I will ever get used to it. But I love it! -u/witaji
I moved from the U.S. to Europe (Austria) quite some time ago (nearly 20 years). I don't regret it and can't ever see myself moving back to the U.S. A couple of my friends are still trying to figure out ways to move over where. Just a few things off the top of my head regarding why:
- 5 weeks of paid vacation
- up to 2 years of paid parental leave (including for dads as well)
- no such thing as a copay at the doctor
- price cap on prescription drugs (like EUR 6)
- low crime rate
- more well developed social safety net (ie. less poverty)
- I once spent 10 days in the hospital and needed emergency surgery. My bill: EUR 0.
- Free daycare
- Excellent and well-funded public schools
- No tuition for college -u/mejok
Quality of life - I hate having to drive everywhere in the U.S., city parks are usually way worse, and my friends thought I was crazy for not wanting to default to spending money as a way to hang out (restaurants, bars, concerts, nail salons, shopping). I know that exists in Europe but there still seems to be more appreciation for the slow life. That plus being able to walk more and use public transport, long vacations, better social safety nets…I just feel happier and healthier with that lifestyle. u/wingswedensdays
My kids have a better quality of here. We’re fortunate to live in an area with good schools that are walking distance from our house. They have local school friends which I didn’t have. I lived in a rough area and my parents sent me out of the area so I could go to a good school. I don’t need to drive as much, my work/life balance is better, food is cheaper and of course healthcare. -u/TheYankunian
Because Italy has some of the best food in the world. u/stinky_cheese33
Kinda tired of my medication costing $1000 a month tbh. u/Bluemysterywolf.
I moved to Spain from the U.S. 6 years ago. As much as I deeply love and miss the U.S.—the nature, the food, friends, the VIBE—I have no plans to move back. Healthcare in America scares the bejeesus out of me, especially as I age. I just had surgery on an injury that cost me nothing—I still feel like I'm getting away with murder. And the work-life balance is so insane once you see it from the outside. I stopped being able to understand how my mom was slaving away for a company that really didn't pay much for 2 precious weeks of paid vacation a year (and I would describe my family as privileged). COVID really changed my view, seeing everyone in my city dutifully wear the mask even after it's not required, whereas my state in America devolved into a culture war. "Devolving" is, unfortunately, the best word I have to describe the U.S. in the last decade(s). u/sweetest_oblivion
Even though I miss the comfort and ease of the place that I grew up, it’s nothing compared to the peace of mind living here. A lot of people complain about “people being lazy” in Spain. I, for the most part, love how relaxed everyone is here. Coming from NY, where everything needs to be finished yesterday and you get yelled at for not giving your order quick enough in a food line… it’s so refreshing to constantly be reminded to take a break. Deep breath. Fresh air. Take a nap. Get around to it later. I’m sure that it’s helped my anxiety and made me happier for it. One more thing… I just returned from a visit to America today after being away for two years. It could be just me being sensitive to things, but the vibe there felt different. It felt very divisive, fearful and angry. It made me sad. u/MimiOlga
My partner and I moved to Sweden exactly two years ago today. We were both working extremely long hours in the U.S. and it was quite literally killing us. Our hair was falling out, we were gaining weight, we were exhausted all the time, unhappy, and unable to see how it would change. Then there's also the political and social situation. Even before Covid, it was clear to us that the U.S. had become ungovernable. Society is extremely polarized with no clear way back to the uneasy peace of the 90s. Congress is completely deadlocked with the only meaningful legislation passed in nearly a decade being a massive tax cut for the ultra-rich. Healthcare expenses are still skyrocketing, the safety net is nearly gone, and education is getting both worse and more expensive. Hell, for 18 months we were living comfortably on a single income, which would be impossible in the states.
We don't ever want to move back. -u/hBarsquared
I was mentally tired from living in a state of near catastrophe all the time. I had a good job but one medical catastrophe (of which I’d already had a few) could have bankrupted me. I wanted kids but again, it’s one catastrophe away from homelessness WITH kids. And no social support for kids either, like parental leave after birth, subsidized childcare, subsidized higher education. I hated never having job security despite being excellent at my job. Basically, everything about all of the systems in the U.S. terrified me. My quality of life is incalculably improved by living in a country that cares about its citizens. -u/ingenfara
You won't be bankrupt for being sick, your kids won't end up with serious student loans (in most of Europe), or be funneled into a for-profit private prison system. Less chance of a maniac shooting you. You aren't afraid of losing health insurance after a layoff/firing -u/Worldcitizen99
I moved 3 years ago from America to Europe for better education and healthcare. I don’t regret it at all. Everyone that thinks America is still as great as it once was is living in a dream instead of reality. u/sherbearrrx
Literally, an infinite number of reasons, unless ur loaded with cash America is not a good place to live. I feel like a more appropriate question would be why would any Europeans want to move to America. u/yeeyaawetoneghee
Culture is better. Not saying that some Americans are not cultured (I am American after all) but things are so much more oriented to enjoying music, theatre, and arts. I had relatives in the U.S. that mocked university education, modern art, and pretty much anything that was not simple patriotism and religion. Easy to get somewhere completely different. In America, you have to travel a long way to get to a different culture, and then not that different. In a few hours by car, I can be in France, The Netherlands, or Germany. A few hours by plane brings in Italy, Greece, Spain, or Portugal. u/Doggyboy