Moving to the US is a big leap, but is very rewarding. Unlike in some places, many Brits move to here on their own, for work or just for a change. So how is it moving to the USA as a single person?
Moving to the USA as a single person
You certainly won’t be the first to make the plunge! As of 2017, 258 million people, or one in every 30, were living outside their country of birth. It’s estimated that around 1.3 million Brits currently reside in North America. While 24% of them are retired, there’s a whole lot who have moved there as unmarried singles, without a family in tow.
The USA remains a highly desirable place to live and work. In 2018, US News ranked it the 8th Best Country in the World, scoring highly on its economy, cultural influence and potential for entrepreneurship. Today, we’re looking at what factors make moving to the USA as a single person a great, and very doable, idea.
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1. Lack of a language barrier
Moving overseas on your own is brave, but an international move to a country that speaks the same language is a whole lot easier than moving to a place where you don’t understand a word. You can hit the ground running, slot right into your new job and start getting to know (and dating!) people right away. While it may take some time to acclimatise to the American way of doing things, at least you can communicate effectively, ask questions and access the information you need. A lovely little added bonus of being British is that Americans tend to LOVE our accents, which is a real conversation starter.
2. High single population
While you may be very happily single, many people moving to the USA may be doing so with the hope of finding love. And if you can’t do that in a country of 329 million, then where can you?! If you aren’t restricted by employment, you can even choose your city or town based on what percentage of the population are unmarried.
Atlanta, one of the most exciting cities in the USA and hottest property markets, tops a number of ‘best cities for singles’ charts. In addition to having a high number of nightspots per capita, great gender balance, and being generally hip, 70% of its population are single. Also, 70 percent of Boston’s population is single, Cleveland isn’t far behind with 68%, and Chicago – one of the best cities in the world for millennials – boasts 63% of its population being unmarried. Minneapolis (64%) is another popular choice.
Atlanta, one of the most exciting cities in the USA and hottest property markets, tops a number of ‘best cities for singles’ charts.
Furthermore, in 2018 WalletHub completed a survey of 180 US cities, looking at 34 criteria that make locations good (or bad) for singles. In addition to the number of single people, the survey looked at online dating opportunities, nightlife options and date spots. They concluded that the top 5 best cities for singles in the country are Atlanta (Georgia), Denver (Colorado), San Francisco (California), Portland (Oregon) and Los Angeles (California).
Also, Apartment List conducted a survey of 13,000 renters across the USA in 30 metropolitan areas, 62% of whom were aged 35 or under, to determine the best cities for dating. Their top ten consisted of Raleigh (North Carolina), San Antonio (Texas), Boston (Massachusetts), Charlotte (North Carolina), Washington D.C, Austin (Texas), Baltimore (Maryland), Tampa (Florida), Houston (Texas) and New York City.
With such a high population of people looking for love…you shouldn’t struggle to find a date. Speaking of which…
3. A more active dating scene
Dating in the USA is a whole different business. In the UK, we can be a little lazy when it comes to dating – preferring to go out with people that we vaguely know over complete strangers and keeping our dates rather formulaic. In the USA, people are a lot more methodical about finding ‘The One’. This means it’s not uncommon to go on more than one date in a day, to date several people at once – until you have the ‘exclusive’ chat – and to approach people in public to make some small talk before asking for their number. Apps are also widely used, specifically Tinder and OkCupid.
When moving to the USA as a single person, expect more old-fashioned gender roles to prevail when it comes to who pays for dinner. Similarly, while in the UK you might just pop down your local boozer for your date, in the USA swanky dinners and drinks in hip bars are the norm. Americans also love a double date, so try your best not to cringe if a new friend suggests it.
4. Job opportunities
Another key factor in moving to the USA as a single person is the excellent career opportunities it presents. Unless you’re moving to the USA for a job that’s already been offered, you should consider where the best opportunities are for your skillset, as well as where the best pay packets exist. WalletHub recently conducted a survey of 182 cities to discover the Best US Cities for Jobs.
The survey included the 150 most populated cities (often an important factor for singles) in the country, and at least two of the most populated cities within every US state. In addition to job opportunities they looked at monthly average starting salary, unemployment, automation risk, employment growth and housing affordability. The five that came out on top were Colorado Springs (Colorado), San Francisco (California), Orlando (Florida), Columbia (Maryland) and Scottsdale (Arizona).
Read our guide, How to Negotiate Abroad, for insider tips and tricks on getting the best price when dealing with estate agents.
If you’re going to up sticks and move to the USA as a single person, you need to know that you will be able to support your move and your new life on your salary alone. The current average salary across the whole USA is $82,268 (£59,017). In comparison, the average salary in the UK is £38,600. As of the start of 2021, here are the average salaries in some of the USA’s most popular locations with singles:
- NYC – $98,065
- Los Angeles – $89,719
- Chicago – $86,371
- Washington D.C – $95,883
- San Francisco – $109,407
- Houston – $94,571
- Boston – $93,080
- Atlanta – $85,306
6. Cost of living
Life in the USA is slightly more expensive overall than the UK. You will of course also need to factor healthcare into your monthly budget. Having said that, there are many things that are more affordable in the US than in the UK. Restaurant prices are lower (handy for all those dates!), as is the cost of public transport. Gym memberships and cinema tickets are also more affordable than in the UK.
The wonderful thing about having so much choice of where to live when moving to the USA as a single person is that you can choose somewhere affordable. Of course, the biggest cities are the most expensive, but there are some fantastic, up and coming second cities that are really thriving in the USA right now. For example, Cincinnati has low unemployment rates, Fortune 500 Companies galore, and on average, its residents spend 25 percent less than the average American. Also, home prices in the city remain $70,000 (£53,200) below the rest of the country.
The lack of language barrier makes socialising nice and simple in the USA. Plus, lots of Americans move around the country in pursuit of job opportunities, so people are used to opening up their social circles for new arrivals. Also, Americans are a welcoming bunch and will invite you along to social events the minute they hear you are new in town, particularly if they think you might be a good match for one of their single friends. In terms of how people socialise in the USA, expect a lot of barbecues, beach days, evenings in bars, or if there is a big match on – getting together to watch the game, often on a Sunday.
To further ease your transition, there are a wide array of apps that exist solely to help you make friends. Meet-up is a free app used in the USA, which will help you to meet like-minded people. You enter in your interests, everything from spirituality and hiking, to Tai Chi and wine, and then the app provides an extensive list of events or groups you might like to join. Also, you could try Patook (a ‘strictly platonic’ friend-making app), Bumble BFF, or Hey! Vina – billed as the ‘Tinder for finding (girl) friends’. You can also keep an eye out for expat groups – often there will be a specific expat group for people living in your town or city on Facebook. Also, you can make friends through work, via taking up a new hobby, and just by being friendly and introducing yourself to people.
One of the best things about moving to the USA as a single person is there is a lot of choice in terms of where to live. The country has over 35,000 towns and cities, which means you can really get specific about what you want from your location. While the lure of hotspots like New York City and LA is undeniable, in recent years, many lesser-known cities are growing in popularity, and some of them are very affordable.
Whether you want to be by the beach, in the mountains, or close to the Canadian border, you’ll be able to find a town with activities and opportunities to suit your specific tastes and needs. The USA is famous for its culture; its music, theatre and art, and that doesn’t just stop the minute you leave the big city. There are artistic towns and smaller cities all around the USA. Don’t be afraid to cast your net a little wider to find exactly the vibe you need.
If you need extra finance for your US home, read up on all your financing options in our new guide, How to Pay for an America Property.
9. Quality of life
The USA was ranked the 9th safest country in the world for women in 2018 by Business Insider and most of the USA’s cities and more liberal locations are welcoming to the LGBTQ community. A number of US cities performed well in the 2018 Mercer Quality of Living Survey 2018; San Francisco took 30th place, followed by Boston (35th), Honolulu in (36th), Seattle (44th) and New York (45th). Additionally, according to a US News Survey, the USA ranks 17th out of 80 countries for quality of life.
10. Health and happiness
Living a long, happy and healthy life is all any of us want. Despite its reputation for junk food, the USA is a healthy, active destination where you can find the best organic food, explore some of the most beautiful places on the planet, and spend your days outside being active. When you move to the USA you can prepare for days spent surfing, hiking, rock climbing, white water rafting – any activity you want to turn your hand to, you will find in the USA.
There’s a reason that Americans are reluctant to leave their home country – there is so much to see and do there that there’s no real need! There are 58 incredible national parks to visit, world-class skiing and some of the best beaches in the world. Of Travel and Leisure Magazine’s 50 Best Places to Travel in 2019, eight of them were located in the US. Rough Guides listed Alabama as one of the must-see regions of 2019 and Town and Country are urging people to head to Napa Valley, Park City in Utah and The Berkshires in Massachusetts. Internal flights are very affordable, and hopping on a plane to the Caribbean, Central or South America doesn’t have to break the bank either. Moving to the USA as a single person means all this is at your fingertips – and it could well be the best decision you make!