The Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF), a not-for-profit group dedicated to helping Americans overseas take part in federal elections, began its “Counting Citizens” project in April this year.
Using the power of social media to spread the word, the group is appealing for expats to register on a dedicated website, and help the organisation produce a reliable estimate of the number of Americans currently living abroad
“At the moment, there no is no accurate up-to-date estimate of how many American citizens abroad there are or where they are,” said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, the president of the OVF. “Expats are not included in the US census, and previous estimates have been very rough, and often non-official.
“The last attempt to work out how many expats there are was in 1999, and stated that there were four million. But we’ve seen estimates range from that up to 10 million, none of which are substantiated.”
Previous efforts, said Ms Dzieduszycka-Suinat, had been weakened by asking participants to fill out lengthy, census-like forms. The current project, which she described as ” the first of its kind”, simply asks expats to go online and give basic information.