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Infographic: Transcript: What do American expats miss about home?

Leaving the familiar behind and moving to a foreign country — either alone or with a family — can be a stressful process.

There are many benefits to acknowledging this and to planning ahead for the challenges that might arise on arrival. Of course, different nationalities and personality types will process opportunities and challenges differently. Find out what American expats miss the most about the United States while living abroad.  

Aetna International surveyed Americans who live or have lived abroad to find out what they miss about the United States.

Friends and family

  • 76% miss their local community
  • 43% miss their family and friends
  • 26% miss their pets all the time


  • 82% miss religious holidays
  • 31% miss American ‘celebrations’ (Thanksgiving, Halloween, Independence Day)

The American way

  • 85% miss American TV and radio at some point
  • 82% miss air conditioning
  • 82% miss public restrooms
  • 67% miss access to ATMs
  • 42% miss American prices ‘quite a lot’

Most to least missed:

  1. TV and radio
  2. Restaurants and takeout food
  3. Online streaming services
  4. Newspapers and magazines
  5. Cinema
  6. Sports
  7. Live events
  8. Exercise facilities
  9. Bars and nightclubs

Food and drink

  • 79% miss traditional foods a lot or all the time
  • 74% miss global cuisine (Mexican, Italian, Chinese)
  • 72% miss breakfast foods (Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Frosted Flakes cereals)
  • 70% miss peanut butter (Jif, Skippy, Smucker’s)
  • 70% miss meats (ham, bacon, steak)
  • 67% miss fruits and vegs (apples, berries, grapes)
  • 66% miss candies and snacks (Hershey’s, Reese’s, M&Ms)
  • 66% miss condiments and sauces (ketchup, French’s mustard, Bull’s Eye barbecue sauce)

Most missed brands

  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Netflix
  • Hershey
  • HBO
  • Doritos
  • Cheetos
  • Lay’s
  • Olive Garden
  • Snickers


  • 53% never use the Internet to buy American products when abroad
  • 28% do it occasionally
  • 19% do it all the time
  • 53% buy food and drink
  • 15% buy clothing
  • 12% buy cosmetics and pharmaceuticals

Health care

  • 29% used travel insurance
  • 16% of that group used international private medical insurance (IPMI)
  • 56% didn’t know the different between the two
  • 25% said they weren’t sure, that “the company dealt with it”
  • 22% had no health insurance while living abroad

The one thing I DON’T miss about America*

  • 15% didn’t miss traffic and transport
  • 12% didn’t miss other Americans
  • 11% didn’t miss politics (“fake news,” “protesters,” “Republicans,” “the President,” “political negativity”)

*Response trend from open field responses including individual quotes

Stress and well-being

While some Americans miss what they see as easier, slower life in the U.S., others have found easier, less stressful lives abroad.

8% suggest America is a more stressful place to live —

What I don’t miss:

  • Crazy schedule
  • Fast life
  • The pace
  • Commotion and stress

6% suggest America is a less stressful place to live —

What I miss:

  • Less stressful life
  • Life seems simpler
  • Slower pace
  • Ease of life
  • You don’t think about what you don’t have

The one thing I miss about America*

  • 39% miss my family
  • 15% miss food and drink (Chinese food, hot dogs, apple pie)

*Response trend from open field responses including individual quotes

Moving to a foreign country alone or with family can be a stressful process. This is why Aetna International works with companies and individuals to provide the help people need before and during their relocation — from health care to pre-trip planning and support.

Moving abroad with a family or alone can be a stressful process. Part of the reason expats are more susceptible to anxiety and depression is the absence of the family and friends network they relied on for support back home. Before you relocate, it's important to understand what to expect when you arrive, taking into account cultural differences and how to find any support you need, when you need it. For more information, read Expatriate mental health: Breaking the silence and ending the stigma.

Survey details

Aetna International conducted a quick “pulse check” survey of Americans who live or have lived abroad to find out what they miss about the United States.

As an international health care provider, we understand the challenges that face the globally mobile. There are many things people miss when they move abroad — and while we won’t send you Reese’s Pieces or a bottle of Snapple while you’re away, we want to make sure you don’t miss out on getting the right health care wherever you are.

We surveyed Americans from 32 states, including majorities from New York, Texas, California and Florida. 41% of those surveyed were 30-44 years old; 21% were 18-29 years old; and 25% were 45-59 years old. 60% were female.

Aetna® is a trademark of Aetna Inc. and is protected throughout the world by trademark registrations and treaties.

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