America was the original expatriate destination – the country that people flocked to with dreams of a better life. Covering an area of nearly four million square miles, sustaining more than 300 million people in 50 states and across three time zones, the US offers diversity like few single countries.
If you are planning a move to the USA, or even just entertaining the idea, choosing where to settle can seem an impossible task. Unless you have a job ready and waiting for you, or friends or family in a particular location, deciding which state (let alone city) can be quite overwhelming. From snow-capped mountains to pristine white-sand beaches, dense green forests to hot, vast deserts, geographically the USA has it all.
So how can you possibly know which state is best for you? Each state has its pros and cons, but we have chosen five states that, in their own ways, offer expats an excellent way of life and a chance to seize the American Dream.
Living in Colorado
As arguably the most beautiful state in all America, Colorado's attractions are easy to see. With spectacular natural surroundings and clean mountain air, living an active, healthy lifestyle here is easier than in most states. It isn't just the lifestyle that is such an alluring prospect, however.
The average household income in Colorado is around $50,000 per year – higher than the majority of US states, including New York. Conversely, the cost of living in Colorado is about 2.5% lower than the American average. From the large and diverse capital of Denver to the celebrated college town of Boulder and the glamorous ski resort of Aspen, there's no shortage of wonderful destinations for expats to settle in here.
Living in Kentucky
From the spectacular mountains in the East to its Blue Grass beating heart, Kentucky is a beautiful state – it's not hard to see why the pioneer Daniel Boone referred to it as "a second paradise." Economically too, Kentucky has much to offer. The cost of living in Kentucky is lower than the US average by 21% and Kentucky is the most affordable US state in which to rent a home, making it ideal for expats looking for a high quality of life.
Cities like Lexington have very low crime rates and a strong economy with an abundance of healthcare, government and technology jobs. For expats who don't have a job waiting for them, Kentucky's employment rate is rising steadily, unlike many other states, so your chances of snaring a decent job here are high.
Living in New York
New York was the original expat destination, the place that spawned a million success stories of American immigration. In the 21st century it offers expats just as much – but of course, it does come at a price. Expats with an annual income of around $70,000 should be able to live relatively comfortably, although do bear in mind that Manhattan is vastly more expensive than New York's four other boroughs, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and The Bronx.
While the cost of living is high, the diverse, vibrant communities and perks of living in such a city are excellent compensation. It isn't known as "the city that never sleeps" for nothing, and the nightlife, culture and overall atmosphere of the Big Apple are just as inspiring as they were over two centuries ago.
Living in Hawaii
The tropical paradise of Hawaii has always been a hugely popular state to move to; the beach-side beauty it boasts truly is the stuff of dreams. With the majority of the population falling into the 30s – 60s age bracket, most expats heading to these shores are settled couples looking for a life of year-round warm weather, white sandy beaches and a relaxed regime.
Nevertheless, as breathtakingly beautiful as Hawaii is, it is not the best destination for those struggling with money. Due to its isolated location and the fact that everything has to be shipped in from the mainland the cost of living in Hawaii and price to rent a home is significantly higher than most of the USA. If money is not an issue, however, Hawaii can offer an environment to live in that is unparalleled in both beauty and cleanliness.
Living in Florida
Florida has always been a popular choice for the retired, and as a result there are a number of retirement communities and activities designed for seniors in the Sunshine State. However, Florida's appeal is not restricted to retirees. The continual warm climate is appealing to just about everyone, and the coastal regions such as the Gold Coast, spanning from Palm Beach to Miami, are the biggest draws for expats.
The cost of living in Florida is relatively average when compared to the rest of the USA, although the southern half of the state is more expensive than the northern. Florida is thought to be one of the most welcoming states when it comes to expats and newcomers, so settling in here should be easier than in many other places. Though it is the southernmost state of the USA, culturally Florida does not feel like a 'southern state' but rather has its own unique culture that reflects its diversity.