Record number of Americans want to leave U.S. — and Canada is the top choice: poll

A record number of Americans want to leave the United States, according to a new Gallup poll.

The number of Americans who want to flee the country has hit a new high, at 16 per cent, amid Donald Trump‘s presidency.

That’s higher than the average number of Americans who wanted to leave the country permanently under former presidents George W. Bush (11 per cent) and Barack Obama (10 per cent).

The poll noted that Americans’ approval — or disapproval — of a president’s job performance has historically impacted the number of people who want to migrate.

Real Clear Politics, a website that tracks all major polls on the president’s job performance, shows that Trump’s average approval rating among all polls is currently at 42.4 per cent. That means 53.9 per cent of Americans disapprove of his performance.

Moving to Canada?

The desire to move to Canada, which was widely reported following Trump’s election in 2016, remains intact.

The poll found that Americans looking north has increased in the past two years. In 2016, 12 per cent of Americans said they’d like to move to Canada. That number now sits at 26 per cent.

The note explained, however, that desire doesn’t equal action. Statistics show that while a growing number of Americans say they’d move up north, there has only been a “modest uptick” in those who have actually moved.

Over 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, 1,055 more Americans were granted permanent residency than the average number during the Obama administration. Student visas granted to U.S. citizens increased by 1,012 in 2017, compared to the average number over the eight years before that.

Toronto immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann explained the uptick can be attributed to things other than Trump’s presidency.

For example, English fluency is worth more points than it used to be in Canada’s immigration criteria — and the changes came into effect around the same time as Trump became president.

“The way we’re doing business now is skewing in favour of English-speaking countries, because language is of greater importance than it has been in the past, so countries like the United States should expect to see some uptick in their numbers, at the expense of countries that don’t have native English speakers,” Mamann said.

Who exactly wants to leave?

The Gallup report noted that while respondents were not asked about their political leanings, they believe the uptick is caused by Democrats who are particularly displeased with Trump’s job performance.

It noted that this is also a record-high for women, with 20 per cent saying they want to leave the country. Comparatively, 10 per cent of women wanted to leave when Obama was president, and 11 per cent wanted to leave during Bush’s presidency.

Americans under 30 years of age also hit a record high, with 30 per cent saying they want to leave the country. Young women were notably more likely to have this sentiment at 40 per cent, compared to their male counterparts at 20 per cent.

Low-income earners also wanted to leave America at record levels, with 30 per cent saying they would migrate if they could — that number was 13 per cent under Obama.

This Gallup poll is an average of surveys conducted in 2017 and 2018. They were completed by phone by 1,000 Americans above the age of 15. This poll is considered accurate plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

— With files from Global News reporter Patrick Cain

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