According to the Los Angeles Times report, residents of California are fleeing to the country of Portugal and in many cases bringing problems that have made life more difficult for natives.
The story where the number of Americans living in Portugal has risen by 45% in the past year with many of those Americans moving from California in order to escape high housing costs, pandemic lockdowns, and “Trumpian politics,” is titled “Welcome to Portugal, the new expat haven. Californians, please go home.”
As California expats have become the “root of questions over gentrification, income disparities and immigration” the “resentment of newcomers is growing” in Portugal, the article explains.
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Reportedly, Portuguese activists have taken to the streets to protest the gentrification caused by Americans, many of them from California, who have moved into the neighborhood and caused skyrocketing rent and evictions.
A geographer at the University of Lisbon, Luis Mendes said: “You cannot deny that places like Lisbon have become much more appealing for young, creative people with money to spend. The effect on the economy and the way the buildings look – no longer empty – is astronomical. But the average Portuguese person can no longer afford to live in the center of Lisbon. Rents have gone up five times over a few years. Even the basic things, such as buying groceries, take longer trips outside the city center than they used to.”
A response to the housing crisis then came by the Portuguese government, as it suspended its “golden visa” program in large cities that offered residency to foreigners who purchased homes that cost more than $500,000 euros which was a program “dominated” by Americans, per report.
Evictions have doubled over the last few years in the capital city of Portugal – Lisbon, with many blaming the influx of foreigners willing to pay more than locals with bank accounts backed by dollars and pounds.
In both 2020 and 2021, California’s population decreased, which cost the state a seat in Congress for the first time after the U.S. Census found California’s population growth fell behind other states.
“Things were just becoming too much back home, but I didn’t want to leave everything about L.A. behind. With Portugal,” Dixon added, “we could keep the parts we liked and leave the rest,” Jamie Dixon, a California expat explained.