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Thread: Mobility of Americans vs Canadians

  1. #1
    Cyburbian andreplanner's avatar
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    Mobility of Americans vs Canadians

    Now this is something I have done some thinking on and had some discussions with friends with.

    Why is it that some Americans are more mobile than some of us Canadians? Is it because there's more opportunity? At first I was not willing to move outside of the Greater Toronto Area for a job. Now I have begun to apply for jobs in the US, although they will be hard to come by for international applications since the incidents of 9/11. I have also begun to apply for jobs to only major urban centres within Canada. Reason being my only focus during school was in transportation and housing.

    I would like to hear from everyone who has moved or willing to move for work what their experiences have been and why they are willing to pack up an leave much easier.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I have made a few moves, not even including those in the Army. My first was from the Chicago suburbs to semi-rural (now urban) Illinois. I later moved back to the 'burbs and then to the Madison area. This was easier because my best friend and his wife had moved there a year earlier, and I grew up a Cottage Cheesehead. Even as a kid I always said I was going to live in Wisconsin. About a year or so back, I made a move to Colorado. While I do like the state, it turns out I did not like the job - that is a bigger hazard when you make a long-distance move. Oh well, last week I left to start my own company.

    Moving does open up many more job opportunities, but it does have its costs. Some are relatively simple, like finding a new dentist. Some are more complicated. Moving can itself be complicated if you have to dispose of property where you used to live, and find something new in your new city. Hopefully you can do it without having to worry about storage. The other difficult thing to deal with is reconnecting once you get where you are going. There is a huge learning curve in getting familiar with ordinances, state statutes, and local customs. You will have to start all over in building a professional network. On the personal side, it takes time to meet new friends and establish a social life.

    I would not try to discourage you, but realize going in that you can be in for a rough time until you are resettled.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian andreplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    I have made a few moves, not even including those in the Army. My first was from the Chicago suburbs to semi-rural (now urban) Illinois. I later moved back to the 'burbs and then to the Madison area. This was easier because my best friend and his wife had moved there a year earlier, and I grew up a Cottage Cheesehead. Even as a kid I always said I was going to live in Wisconsin. About a year or so back, I made a move to Colorado. While I do like the state, it turns out I did not like the job - that is a bigger hazard when you make a long-distance move. Oh well, last week I left to start my own company.

    Moving does open up many more job opportunities, but it does have its costs. Some are relatively simple, like finding a new dentist. Some are more complicated. Moving can itself be complicated if you have to dispose of property where you used to live, and find something new in your new city. Hopefully you can do it without having to worry about storage. The other difficult thing to deal with is reconnecting once you get where you are going. There is a huge learning curve in getting familiar with ordinances, state statutes, and local customs. You will have to start all over in building a professional network. On the personal side, it takes time to meet new friends and establish a social life.

    I would not try to discourage you, but realize going in that you can be in for a rough time until you are resettled.

    Thanks for the advice. I am expected to deal with that (ie change of climate, friends, pro network, zoning ordinances, etc...)


    Still what makes Americans move more than Canadians? is it climate, except for those north of the sun belt or just so many different opportunities and choices? Who knows? I guess I will find out for myself.

  4. #4
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    It may just seem that way because there are a lot more Americans than Canadians. I know plenty of Canadians who have moved to other countries for work. I'm Canadian and I've been in the US for about 5 years now. If you qualify for a TN visa, the process is very simple. The only time I ever had a problem was when they closed the border after 9/11.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by andreplanner
    Thanks for the advice. I am expected to deal with that (ie change of climate, friends, pro network, zoning ordinances, etc...)


    Still what makes Americans move more than Canadians? is it climate, except for those north of the sun belt or just so many different opportunities and choices? Who knows? I guess I will find out for myself.
    Some random thoughts:
    One of my best friends is Canadian. From conversations with her, I think the American military is about 7 times larger than the Canadian military in terms of percentage of the national population and the military here has a fairly high mobility. So I imagine that impacts the overall culture.

    I also know from talking to my international friends that, compared to other countries, Americans place a lot less value on personal connections. I am multicultural and many of my friends are international in part because I find the American definition of "friendship" to be too shallow. I have a foot in each camp, though, in that I am a military wife and we have moved a lot...well, compared to my childhood, where I lived in the same house from the time I was 3 until I got married and moved out. Compared to my husband's childhood, we have had a lot of stability. (His dad was also career military and he attended a different school every single year. The army doesn't do that so much anymore. It is too expensive.) I expect my special needs kids to live with me until my oldest is about 24 or 25. No biggie. It is what they need. But, hey, half of all American youth under age 25 live with their parents -- they just feel "defective" for doing so, most of the time. I think society is just complex and human brain doesn't FULLY mature until about age 25. Er, but that is a tangent. My point is that I am very close to my kids and it isn't some kind of problem. I don't step on their boundaries and they don't step on mine. For many Americans, such a close relationship would be "weird" and/or co-dependent and would cause serious difficulties for the individuals involved. It isn't a problem for us.

    I also imagine that it is the legacy of how this country was founded. Many early settlers came over to escape persecution, etc. Excuse my ignorance because I don't really know how Canada was settled, but I think the way America began means that a lot of folks pick and move on to escape problems. (And if Canada started much the same way, I may have just stuck my foot in my mouth. Oh well.) We still have a high percentage of immigrants compared to most countries, so those folks also picked up and moved on to make a new and better life for themselves and also are typically "scattered" from their extended family in a way that seems less common in most other countries, where the extended family can be a huge part of one's life.

    So, it seems to me that it is just part of our culture and mindset and our immigration policies, military, and other things re-inforce it and keep it alive. Or maybe lec9496 is right and it is more perception than reality.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    This is just a speculation and I'm sure the situation is much more complex, but I think that the fact that Canada is much smaller and fewer cities means less places to move to. Also, the fact that Quebec is French speaking and the rest is English speaking probably impedes movement between the provinces. Also, alot of people in the U.S. claim they moved to the sunbelt because of the better weather. This obviously isn't the case in Canada.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian andreplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Some random thoughts:
    One of my best friends is Canadian. From conversations with her, I think the American military is about 7 times larger than the Canadian military in terms of percentage of the national population and the military here has a fairly high mobility. So I imagine that impacts the overall culture.

    I also know from talking to my international friends that, compared to other countries, Americans place a lot less value on personal connections. I am multicultural and many of my friends are international in part because I find the American definition of "friendship" to be too shallow. I have a foot in each camp, though, in that I am a military wife and we have moved a lot...well, compared to my childhood, where I lived in the same house from the time I was 3 until I got married and moved out. Compared to my husband's childhood, we have had a lot of stability. (His dad was also career military and he attended a different school every single year. The army doesn't do that so much anymore. It is too expensive.) I expect my special needs kids to live with me until my oldest is about 24 or 25. No biggie. It is what they need. But, hey, half of all American youth under age 25 live with their parents -- they just feel "defective" for doing so, most of the time. I think society is just complex and human brain doesn't FULLY mature until about age 25. Er, but that is a tangent. My point is that I am very close to my kids and it isn't some kind of problem. I don't step on their boundaries and they don't step on mine. For many Americans, such a close relationship would be "weird" and/or co-dependent and would cause serious difficulties for the individuals involved. It isn't a problem for us.

    I also imagine that it is the legacy of how this country was founded. Many early settlers came over to escape persecution, etc. Excuse my ignorance because I don't really know how Canada was settled, but I think the way America began means that a lot of folks pick and move on to escape problems. (And if Canada started much the same way, I may have just stuck my foot in my mouth. Oh well.) We still have a high percentage of immigrants compared to most countries, so those folks also picked up and moved on to make a new and better life for themselves and also are typically "scattered" from their extended family in a way that seems less common in most other countries, where the extended family can be a huge part of one's life.

    So, it seems to me that it is just part of our culture and mindset and our immigration policies, military, and other things re-inforce it and keep it alive. Or maybe lec9496 is right and it is more perception than reality.
    Damn! Didn't expect an essay. LOL

    I wanted to think it has to do with more urban centres and 10X more people living in the US than in Canada. Maybe I was looking for a different answer than the obvious.

    Why does everyone bring up the military though? I know that's probably the most mobile "position" possible. But when I talk to people from the US it always seems like they just pick up and leave to go so far away from where they used to live.

    Oh well I guess I got the answer anyway.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by andreplanner
    Damn! Didn't expect an essay. LOL
    <best tweet bird impression> He don't know me vewwy well, do he?</best tweet bird impression>

  9. #9
         
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    I con't know if just packing up and moving is what ALL americans do. A lot of it may depend on culture and exxonomics. I grew up in the chadow of where the Chicago White Sox play. anyone from Chicago knowss that east of the the expressway that neighborhood is ROUGH (though a new police station has put a damper on that) Most of the people I know there have lived there all their lives and several generations in the same neighborhood. My brother refuses to visis my mother and she lives only in the suburb of Waukegan. My father has lived on the south side of chicago all his 62 years. Most of my family still can't belive I actually went to Iowa State for college and move to Utah and now Phoenix. In the US cities most of the poor and minorities tend to stay in one neighborhood. There are lots of reasons for that and they are the usual suspects . I hope that made sense

  10. #10
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    It's a really, really simple explanation, without even having to go so far as to invoke styles of friendship and percentage of military folk in the population. The reason Canadians do not move around as much as Americans is simply that Canada has very few mid-size cities. Driving along the Trans-Canada highway you will find the large urban centres, and then (for the most part) small towns of less than 20,000. We have large cities of millions, and the suburbs of those cities are often 500,000+, but anything in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 that does not form part of a major urban centre is fairly uncommon.

    This is also why Canadians, when they do move, typically move to the same few places (i.e. one of the major urban centres).

    Mind you, I don't have any data to back this up. While I am certain that societal differences do play a role, I feel the lion's share of the difference is due to what I explained above.

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