America, at its best, is a glittering symbol of promise to would-be immigrants. But where do they actually want to live in the United States?
Trulia, the real-estate listings site, has come up with the only data set we’ve seen that actually breaks that question down to the city level. Their infographic, Global Pursuits of the American Dream, was built using incoming real-estate searches on Trulia’s website. These were then broken down by country of origin, and the city being searched. Here’s what the data looks like for two relatively wealth countries, Germany and Italy:
[San Antonio is an odd inclusion, until you realize that America has a strong military presence in Germany and San Antonio has a number of military bases. Perhaps this has to do with Germany-stationed soldiers looking to return home.]
Keep in mind that these searches are for real-estate listings, not tourist destinations. So they really do reflect something about the ideal cities that foreigners would like to live in. You’ll note that the two them are very similar — meaning, you’d think, that the American dream is really synonymous with a couple U.S. cities, which each represent a different ideal, whether it’s bikinis and beaches (Miami), bleached blonds (L.A.), or fast-talking culture vultures (NYC).
But then, look again: Here’s what the searches look like for China and India, two countries that are relatively poor:
This time, the most-searched cities are places of great industry, rather than just limitless pleasures. (How else to explain Chicago?! And who knew that Brooklyn would be so popular in India?) The picture you get is one of ambitious immigrants from China and India, looking for places with a great demand for highly skilled workers. Those from richer countries such as Germany or Italy are more likely looking for second homes in places that seem fun to live.
Which is sort of fascinating: As the data shows, the American dream means different things abroad, depending on how much money you have.