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Record Number of Americans Want to Leave the U.S.: Report

Anne Worner / CC BY-SA 2.0

While most Americans still want to stay put, the number of U.S. citizens—particularly young women—who would leave the country if they could has increased dramatically under President Donald Trump, according to new Gallup polling results.

Released Friday as part of the Gallup World’s Poll, the survey found that while only 11 percent and 10 percent wanted to leave the county under former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, respectively, that number surged to 16 percent in 2018 under Trump.

While the survey, explained Gallup, “does not ask people about their political leanings, most of the recent surge in Americans’ desire to migrate has come among groups that typically lean Democratic and that have disapproved of Trump’s job performance so far in his presidency: women, young Americans and people in lower-income groups.”

While these figures fall in line more or less with global averages of other developed nations in the world, and Gallup notes there’s not likely to be a mass migration out of the United States any time soon, the number do put an emphasis on the current president’s low favorability and approval ratings.

For some, the irony of the poll was hard to miss:

While the poll did not gauge respondent’s political affiliations—and both Bush and Obama experienced highs and low in terms of overall approval—Gallup says its previous polling did not register these kinds of shifts about the desire to migrate.

According to Gallup’s Julie Ray and Neli Esipova, what they refer to as the “Trump effect” has become “a new manifestation of the increasing political polarization” in the country and is influencing at least some people’s desire to leave. “Before Trump took office, Americans’ approval or disapproval of the president was not a push factor in their desire to migrate.”

And just where would they go? Most—26 percent, Gallup found—would head north to Canada.

For complete methodology and specific dates of the polling, please review Gallup’s Country Data Set details.

Jon Queally / Common Dreams

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