The bark has been much louder than the bite – American defections are down

The bark has been much louder than the bite – American defections have been on the decline 

Bottom Line: With half of the year behind us and Independence Day right around the corner it's as good as any time to see how many Americans really have packed up and left the US for good. In the wake of the Trump-era commencing in 2017, there was a fever pitch in leftist circles about defecting for other countries (aside from the typical baseless threats from the people who make a living pretending to be other people in Hollywood). As I'm quick to point out there are two sides to stories and one side to facts. These are them. 

In 2016, 5,409 Americans renounced their American citizenship. In 2017 that number fell to 5,132 – for a decline of 5.1% fewer Americans renouncing and based on the latest info from the federal government we're on pace for a significant decline in 2018. 

Through the first quarter of 2018, 1,099 Americans renounced their citizenship. That puts us on pace for 4,396 for the full year. If these numbers hold that'd be another 14%+ decline over last year's numbers and a near 19% decline from the last year of the prior administration. This is relevant for a few reasons. First, we generally don't want to see American defections. Aside from the slow population growth we're already experiencing in the US that could bring about economic challenges in the not-so-distant future (challenges for economic growth and especially the solvency of Medicare & Social Security programs). Second, most whom renounce citizenship are from well above average means and losing them often means losing citizens that are well above average tax payers and economic contributors. The third reason is that it proves a point that many in the media have been misleading about due to the politics of the policy. Donald Trump's policy of being "America First" - minded in decision making doesn't equal isolation but it does provide greater incentive for American citizens to remain American citizens. Most notably due to tax policy. 

The number one reason cited for American defections during 2016 – taxes. It was still the top reason citied last year and continues to be this year. However, the promise of reform last year likely contributed to fewer defections and the actual reform is likely what's leading to the more significant decrease in defections so far this year.  

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