Every six months or so local newspapers like Clarín and La Nación write stories about foreigners living in Argentina. The articles usually refer to expats who have blogs or own businesses here. La Nación has had two such pieces so far this year and Clarín has just come out with this one.
The premise of Clarin’s story, if one can call it that, is that Americans are fleeing the crisis-ridden U.S. to escape to Argentina. Clarín’s evidence: a few interviews and immigration data that show a 12% increase in the number of Americans (742) who applied for permanent residency last year.
But most Americans didn’t really start to feel or think about the financial crisis until the fall of 2008. Clarín doesn’t break the immigration data down by months or quarters, so it’s hard to know, from the data, if more people really started immigrating to Argentina because of meltdown on Wall Street.
Meanwhile, the upward trend in immigration to Argentina started in 2002-2003, when Argentina suddenly became a cheap place to live. Immigration to Argentina was rising even when the U.S. economy was still booming.
Nonetheless, it would surprise nobody if the U.S. crisis has led to an uptick in American emigration. (On a related note, I also know of Americans here who say Barack Obama’s election has made them want to move back to the U.S.)
In any case, Argentina is a great place to be for multiple reasons, not just because it’s comparatively inexpensive. (I first came here in 1995, when Argentina was the opposite of cheap, but it was fabulous nevertheless.) Still, the local stories about foreigners always seem to have the same feel, they often quote the same people, and they nearly always talk about the exchange rate. Typically, the stories are neither original, insightful or even particularly interesting. This time, however, Clarín included a video, in English, in which its foreign subjects discuss some of their reasons for making the move. You can see the video (and the rest of the article) here.
*Kudos to Brian Byrnes for passing this along.