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INFOGRAPHIC: The Modern Third Culture Kid

Here at Denizen, we were curious about the lives of the modern Third Culture Kid. We wanted to learn more about who they were, how often they’d moved, and how they had aged. In August, we conducted an informal online survey of more than 200 Third Culture Kids. The majority of respondents were female, with the average age being 29.

The typical Third Culture Kid has moved at least once by their 5th birthday, and will move at least four times in their life. They speak at least two languages and have a 4-year college-degree. One in ten speak four languages. Three in ten have a Master’s Degree.

Roughly half are in a relationship. Roughly half are not. The majority of those in a relationship have been dating someone for at least five years. Sixty percent want to raise their kids as TCKs. Ten percent don’t want kids.

But most interestingly, they have no plans on sticking around. When asked if they would stay in their current city two years from now, seventy percent of respondents said no or not sure. When we asked about five years from now, the number jumped to 92 percent.

And what do they most frequently say when asked “Where are you from?”

The response: “It’s complicated.”

Third Culture Kid Infographic

Infographic for Denizen by Elaina Natario


  1. Interesting. I can relate to all the stats except wanting to raise my kids as TCKs. I think many TCKs have a longing to settle down in one place. Travel, yes. Move every 2 years again? No thanks.


  2. oh wow! i stumbled into this page by accident, posted by one of the parents of International School of Paris in the parents’ website. got 3 sons; been moving every 3-5 years, have lived in 4 countries now. frankly, going back to our home country is more like a holiday destination than going “home”. i hope this site will help in keeping our “identities” one way or the other


  3. David Bull says

    What is “home?” That’s a question I’ve been wondering for a long time.

    Glad to see so many other TCKs w similar experiences. I live in San Francisco, CA, USA now. I’m 31 and SF is my 8th city after living on four different continents. If there are other TCKs nearby that want to meet up, I’d love to do so!

    Please email me: dibull@gmail.com


  4. Todd Nelson says

    It would be interesting to see a more formal study done, with a valid sampling. I’m an 18-year veteran expat (an American in Malaysia, Qatar, and soon Vietnam) with two TCK daughters who are now in their upper 20s.


  5. Eloise Murdoch says

    My Husband an I grew up as TCK’s. We met at a boarding school in Singapore when we were 15 yrs. old. At age 28 my husband got a job in Southern California and we have lived happily in the same home for 39 years. Both of us agree that we had a very unusual and exciting childhood. We also agree that we would not wish that excitement on our children.


  6. Richard says

    Interesting article. I consider myself a third culture adult. I have lived more than 26 years outside the Netherlands. Lived in Uganda, England, South Africa and the Netherlands. I married a TCK and we have 3 children all born outside the Netherlands. Where is home? Uganda. Europe just isn’t home anymore.
    As a missionary & follower of Jesus the concept that heaven is our home and being a citizen of heaven has become more and more meaningful.


  7. gjbloemberg says

    Sounds about right. Love the infograph! It would be even stronger with expanding the survey base and being more gender balanced. Please continue the research!


  8. About 45 of the 65 years I have lived on this planet “home” is not very relevant. I grew up as a diplomatic kid on 3 continents and have lived in Thailand for nearly 37 yrs. my TCK wife also identifies with the interesting article. Our 3 sons are married and 2 have married cross culturally. We all have the “lets get moving some place!” Feeling frequently. Passports are just documents needed for officials but don’t scratch where we are from, the wide community of this wonderful world God made. I would not trade any of my experiences. Going to the US is usually a feeling of visiting and not returning “home”.


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