Here’s a map of the EU, showing how many citizens of each country live abroad:


Something that is quite apparent: the UK has, by far, the highest number of its citizens living abroad. Admittedly, we’re not talking about abroad “in the EU” – just abroad “anywhere-other-than-the-UK”. But still.

And as the awesome Max Galka from writes (that’s his map above):

For that matter, when was the last time you even heard the term “immigrant” used in connection with U.K. citizens, or citizens of any developed western country? Instead, we call them “expats,” a word which carries very different connotations, but means basically the same thing. Here is how Wikipedia defines them (immigrantexpatriate).

An immigrant is a person who moves to another country.

An expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing, as an immigrant, in a country other than that of their citizenship.

And the “practical” difference between them:

An immigrant is someone from a poor country who moves to a rich country looking for a better life. An expat is someone from a rich country who goes to work abroad.

So even in our language, there is a Foucault-esque tendency to discriminate when it comes to immigration/emigration.

And in our general thinking, here are two other illustrations:


So for most people, the number of immigrants is magnified in their minds. And if you’re asking me, that’s probably due to a representative bias – where immigrants are more noticeable because they look/sound different, so you’re more likely to remember seeing immigrants than you are to remember seeing your fellow born-and-bred citizens.

And look at how the effect is magnified when you look at Muslim perceptions:


I mean, that is a serious disconnect from reality.

Question: when you can demonstrably prove that people are so deeply misinformed, does it make sense to allow them to have referendum-type votes?

Just a question.

Rolling Alpha posts about finance, economics, and sometimes stuff that is only quite loosely related. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, or like my page on Facebook at Or both.