Irish emigrants find the greatest happiest in Canada, reports a new poll from The Irish Times.
The Irish Times Generation Emigration survey found that nearly eight in ten (79 percent) of recent emigrants to Canada said they were more cheerful there than in Ireland.
“Lifestyle is the major factor for people moving to Canada,” says Ruairi Spillane, who moved to Vancouver in 2008 and now runs the website Moving2Canada, and Outpost Recruitment, an agency which specializes in construction and engineering.
“Wages are higher elsewhere and the immigration system has historically been more complicated here, so it is not the easy option, but lots of Irish fall in love the quality of life.”
The survey also showed that emigrants in Canada were most likely to socialize with other Irish people, with 72 percent saying they had a social circle of mostly Irish people.
However, Canada was not the only country where emigrants felt happy. The study found that in all the countries surveyed, the majority of Irish emigrants (70 percent) were happier in the countries they had moved to than they had been back home.
The emigrant satisfaction rate was 73 percent in Australia and New Zealand, 72 percent in mainland Europe, 69 percent in the U.S., 67 percent in the UK, and 58 percent in the rest of the world.
Three hundred and fifty Irish-born emigrants were interviewed for the survey, which was conducted by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of The Irish Times. The poll talked to people who emigrated between 2008 and 2015.
The Irish Times had conducted a similar poll on Irish emigrants in 2012, when only 56 percent of recent emigrants said they were happier in their new countries than in Ireland.
Although a comparison of the surveys indicates emigrants are growing more contented and happier abroad, the study revealed that homesickness is still a challenge for many. Thirty-one percent of those interviewed said the distance from family and friends was the greatest challenge they have faced since moving.
The survey also found that emigrants in Australia and New Zealand were most likely to have citizenship or permanent residency, where Irish residents in the United States were more likely to be there illegally. Nineteen percent of respondents in the U.S. said they were living there illegally, more than in any other country surveyed.
The most popular destination for Irish emigrants since 2008 is the UK, and the country where emigrants are most likely to move ahead in their careers.