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Elections Make Americans Google ‘Moving to Canada’ (They Won’t)

  • Chris Hannas

A smartphone and computer screen display the Google home page. U.S. presidential elections spur online searches for information about moving to Canada.

A smartphone and computer screen display the Google home page. U.S. presidential elections spur online searches for information about moving to Canada.

It is 2016, a presidential election year in the United States, and that means it’s time for Americans to research about and threaten to move to Canada.

Whether it’s a Democrat or Republican in the White House seeking another term, or an open race like this one, each cycle brings at least one candidate whose potential election inspires aversion – and talk about moving away to avoid four years under that person’s leadership.

Since 2004, Google searches for the term "moving to Canada" and other related word combinations have spiked in the United States around Election Day. It happened when Barack Obama first was elected as president in 2008 and again when he won a second term in 2012.

But the search for information about joining their neighbors to the north has never been more popular than when President George W. Bush earned a second term in 2004.

The 2016 election is still eight months away, but Americans are getting a head start. The search term "moving to Canada" spiked on Google in late June, just after businessman Donald Trump officially joined the race for the Republican Party nomination.

The searches have been steadily gaining volume in the past month, including an uptick Tuesday night as Trump won nominating contests in seven states. Three of those states – Georgia, Virginia and Massachusetts – were among the top sources of Canada relocation queries.

So, will roads and flights into Canada be packed with Americans come November? Probably not. The searches and dramatic statements on social media do not lead to a mass migration every four years.

Statistics from the Canadian government show that about 8,500 U.S. citizens have gone to Canada as permanent residents each year in the past decade, with no real trend during or after presidential elections. Nearly five times as many people moved to Canada from the Philippines in 2014.

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