Plenty of Americans decide to move out of the United States and become long-term visitors and even permanent residents in other countries. And while their motivation for leaving ranges from better economic opportunities to a lack of trust in US politics, what is clear is where they go when they step off American soil. In general, Americans love traveling to a specific set of countries, but what happens when they're looking for their new permanent home?

While the US doesn't keep stats on Americans leaving the US, multiple resources shed light on where they're going and why. From places where it's easy to get work as an expat to spots where you've got to learn the language to get by, here's where Americans are heading when they've had enough of the US.

12 Canada Beckons To American Expats

Aetna explains that while the US government doesn't officially track Americans who leave, figures exist on where the majority of expats go when they depart. Topping that list? Places in the western hemisphere, starting with Canada.

Plenty of expats claim that living in Canada is far better than residing in the United States. One transplant told Insider that they will never move back to the US because of  "quiet politics, cross-country train, and the poutine" in Canada.

11 Most Americans Head South Of The Border

US expats also hop the southern border to find their new home, and what could be more convenient? First, there's Mexico, which is an amazing place to visit and has tons of attractions that will make you feel like one of the elite.

The dollar goes farther in Mexico than in most American cities, and the cheaper costs of living are what drive many retirees there. Investopedia also explains that retirees like the warmer climate and the slower pace of living. But of course, Mexico's not the only Spanish (or Portuguese) speaking country south of the US.

10 Ecuador Has Charming Attractions, Too

As of 2015, Aetna explained, Ecuador topped the list of most popular countries for expats of all nations to move to (not just Americans). In fact, half the expatriates in Ecuador were Americans only a few years ago. So, what does Ecuador have going for it?

Well, the low cost of living is one highlight. But expats there also like the quality of life, which has a similar pace to that of Mexico. Forbes reported that retirees favor this destination, especially women, who often seek independence and adventure in their later years. Of course, younger folks can hang in Ecuador, too (the eco-tourism is a clear highlight).

9 Solid Infrastructure Makes Panama A Good Choice

Expats like Panama for its "solid infrastructure" and "first world amenities," says International Living, and we'd have to agree. Of course, it's relative proximity to the United States is helpful too, as it's just south of Mexico. At the same time, you're getting close enough to the equator that you can enjoy tropical vibes on whatever beach you settle down on.

A Little Adrift notes that popular areas for American expats are Boquete, Coronado, and El Valle de Anton. However, you can find a lower cost of living if you venture outside the established expatriate communities.

8 Onto Europe: Americans Love The UK

By the UK Census' count, nearly 200,000 US-born immigrants were living in the UK as of 2011. We can only assume the number has increased, as the UK is the most popular immigration spot for Americans looking to resettle in Europe.

Apart from the appeal of British accents, why do Americans go to the UK? First, they don't need to learn a new language, so if they're itching to leave home soil, that ticks one to-do item off the list. Plus, Brits enjoy more time off and more travel, says Business Insider, two things that definitely appeal to Americans.

7 France Charms Plenty Of Expatriates

Paris, France is a dream destination for many Americans. But to actually relocate there? According to figures via Wikipedia, more than 100,000 Americans lived in France as of 2010. With travel becoming more widely appealing (and affordable), we're assuming those numbers have grown.

Expats tend to favor France for its romance, architecture, and delicious food. And really, what more do you need out of expat life? Feeling safe is one perk, says, and 40 percent of expats are comfortable enough in France that they never plan to leave.

6 Tons Of Expats Choose Germany

Germany might not top your list of dream destinations. But for a lot of American expats, living there is a dream come true. And it's about more than the beer and the brats, writes Jenn Choi on Medium. After visiting Berlin multiple times as a tourist, she booked a one-way ticket for a lifechanging experience.

Jenn noted that while she could get by OK with English, learning German was a game-changer (and also necessary to order a beer properly). Life and work in Germany is similar to the US, too, which helps ease the transition. However, you'll also find multicultural elements that help you feel at home (like fully stocked Asian markets!).

5 American Expats Are About More Than Hunky Actors In Australia

Sure, Australia gave us the Hemsworth brothers, and that's clearly reason enough to immigrate there. But beyond the beach hunks, why do expats hop on an extremely long flight to Australia?

Amateur Traveler says that the relatively low lack of culture shock is helpful for expats in Australia. It's not that much different than living in the US, especially in terms of not having to learn a new language to get by. Plus, you'll never find snow in Australia, only beach-worthy weather (and bods).

Related: What All Tourists Need To Know Before Booking A Trip To Australia

4 Healthcare And The Lack Of Language Barriers Are Tops In New Zealand

While New Zealand may not seem like a life-changing destination, for many American expats, it's the perfect spot to settle down. One American transplant wrote for Stuff that it was relatively easy adjusting to life in New Zealand, especially since the locals are so welcoming and friendly.

Of course, New Zealand is one of the more expensive expat destinations, with mundane things like groceries costing up to three times as much as stores in the United States. So while it's a favorable forever home for some, it's probably not where retirees are going to go to escape the US rat race.

3 Seeing New Things Is The Highlight In China

People who have moved to China permanently, such as an expat writing for Go Overseas, agree that moving to China probably isn't the easiest relocation of their lives. But it's definitely worth learning the difficult language and adjusting to social customs (don't flush the TP!).

Related: Here Are 10 Myths About China That Are Actually False

Living in China enables American expatriates to learn new things, experience an entirely different culture, and see gorgeous landmarks that are unmatched in terms of historical value and beauty. At least 72,000 Americans were living as expatriates in China as of 2018, notes Wikipedia, so the country is clearly doing something right.

2 Exploring Italy Never Gets Old

Italy is another destination that Americans tend to romanticize. And it's anything but romantic for Americans, notes Escape Artist, as there's tons of paperwork involved (especially if you have a job lined up). But around 50,000 expatriates live in Italy, notes Wikipedia, so it can be done (and is often).

Related: A Travel Guide To Italy: Tourists Should Plan Their Trip Around These 11 Things

When you're done being a tourist, it does pay to learn Italian and get to know your community outside the expat centers of Pozzuoli and Monte Di Procida areas of Naples, for example. A low cost of living is one highlight, however (but you'll likely still need a higher income than you did in the US).

1 Adventurers Seek Novelty In Japan

Japan is another eastern expat destination that might be a bit surprising to us homebodies. But as of 2012, at least 51,000 Americans were living in Japan (per Wikipedia), and we wouldn't be surprised if the number is higher today.

Moving to Japan is both exciting and difficult, writes Savvy Tokyo. From the delight you'll experience every time you see a cherry blossom to the need to smile more often, living in Japan can be interesting. Cultural acclimation aside, living in Japan can be pretty rewarding, though it's not typically as cheap as some places in the US.

Next: Living Abroad Can Be Hard, But Here's How You Can Prepare