For decades, millions of Asians have moved to the United States. Now, not only is there a spike in cultural products imported to the United States, Americans are also emigrating to the Indo-Pacific in growing numbers. Among the many cities in Southeast Asia to attract attention is Singapore, which was recently ranked in HSBC’s Expat Monitor as the #2 country in the world for expats, based on categories such as “schooling,” “welcoming communities,” and “political stability.”
This attention comes at a time of growing connection between the United States and Singapore. The combination of a growing economy and low taxes has made Singapore the recipient of heavy investment by Americans. Singapore is a center of innovation and tech in Southeast Asia, inspiring young American businesspeople who want to stake their futures in high-growth Asian companies.
The United States has a free trade agreement with Singapore. Singapore exported $18 billion of goods to the United States in 2018, is among the top 10 Indo-Pacific countries in terms of greenfield investment in the United States, and is in the top ten of visitor spending in the United States, while the United States is in the top ten of visitor spending in Singapore. There has also been much exchange between people. Almost 1,000 Americans studied abroad in Singapore, and over 500,000 Americans visited Singapore in 2018.
All in all, affluent Americans with careers in tech or business have found a welcoming community, comfortable lifestyle, and financial opportunity. But that doesn’t mean the future is limited to expats of that background. As Southeast Asia’s prominence in the global economy is on the rise, perhaps Singapore will continue to attract American immigrants as well as investment.
Isabel Hamilton is a participant in the Young Professionals Program at the East-West Center in Washington.