What I have learned in my twenty years abroad is that we are delightfully diverse. Americans abroad reflect the homeland population - they come in all colors and creeds and work in a variety of occupations. In my time I've had the honor of meeting: retired military, professors, English teachers, writers, musicians, journalists, psychologists, laborers, small business owners, and IT professionals in Europe, Asia and North America. I can only guess at what I would find in Australia or South America but I bet you would find the same mix there too.
Back in 2011 I started asking myself if American abroad constituted a diaspora or not and I wrote this post An American Diaspora? Two years later I am even more convinced that there is one that has been quietly sleeping abroad outside of the consciousness of the American homeland.
Today that diaspora is waking up and organizing because of the challenges we are facing today with FATCA and citizenship-based taxation (and not just those things - there is a long list of issues we care about and we are learning to be vigilant when it comes to the homeland government and its wacky ideas).
I don't think it is a coincidence that we are now becoming the object of some serious research. Two books are coming out at the end of this year that I plan on reading as soon as they hit the shelves (or are available for download).
The Citizenship of Americans Living Abroad: Democracy and Those Who Leave by Dr. Katya Long.
I have no other information about this one but it looks fascinating and I am eager to get a copy when it comes out on January 15, 2014.
And finally this is a good place to mention once again a study that was published back in 1992. The authors spoke with Americans in Australia and Israel and did a comparative analysis. They asked and got answers to questions like: Why did they leave? Did they intend to stay when they arrived? Did they plan on coming back to the U.S. ?
Americans Abroad: A Comparative Study of Emigrants from the United States by A. Dashefsky et al.