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Survey studies expats’ impact in Latin America

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The impact of expats in Latin America is under study by National Geographic. Photo illustration: Getty

The relationship between Latin American communities and expat retirees is the focus of a study funded by the National Geographic Society.

As an expat destination, Latin America is seeing wider appeal, and is now almost as popular with older British and European expats as it is with Americans.

But to what end? The study will send researchers to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Cuenca, Ecuador; and Managua, Nicaragua, among other historic expat hubs.

“The goals of our project are to investigate expat retiree impact on colonial cities, learn about the experience of the retirees, understand the role of government in hosting them, and develop recommendations for cities on how to attract retirees in a manner that maximizes quality of life for everyone,” said Philip Sloan M.D., the project director.

Colonial cities are especially appealing for expatriate retirees for their picturesque environments, infrastructure and culture, said Sloan, who is affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The result is a mixed blessing worth studying, said Sloan.

“The expat phenomenon, and the expat retiree phenomenon in particular, can stimulate economic development, create new jobs and increase the income of national and local governments who are a part of it,” Sloane said. “On the other hand, social and cultural problems have the potential to arise. Because of this, colonial cities that want to attract North American and European retirees must plan on both how to attract the migration but also how to guide it.”

Sloan recommends that cities encouraging expat immigration from the U.S., Canada and Europe should plan to guide the migration towards informed integration as well as encouraging it for commercial reasons.

Researchers the input of a sizable cross-section of both communities for its success. Sloane is looking for expatriates over 55 from Europe, Canada or the U.S. who’ve lived in a colonial Latin American city for four years or more. The survey takes 20 minutes to complete.

To contact Sloane directly with information or observations relevant to the project, reach him here: philip_sloane@med.unc.edu.

Source: Cuenca High Life

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