There are a few interesting figures that I’d like to share.
# 1: Americans in Yangon
I met someone one night when I was out who works at the U.S. Embassy here in Yangon and in charge of U.S. Visas and American affairs (e.g. if someone is arrested or is the victim of crime), and so I asked him about Americans here. He told me that there used to be about 200 Americans in Myanmar before 2009/2010 (the years when the country began opening up). Apparently then the number jumped up to 2,000, which is where it is now. He said that many people come here expecting to stay long term and then end up leaving after a few months. He also said that this number doesn’t really include Burmese-Americans, so the actual number is likely higher.
#2: Economics of Driving a Taxi
I have spoken with a couple different taxi drivers in Yangon (in broken Burmese/English) about what it’s like as a driver. From what I’ve learned, it sounds like if you own your own car, you can make $600 per month. If you don’t own your own car, you can make $300 per month. Based on $300, apparently about $200 goes to cost of living. I was also told by an Statistics graduate of Yangon University (now a taxi driver), that he is choosing to work as a driver until he can save enough money to move to Singapore where he can earn more. Apparently if you go straight from university to a company or the government, you’re monthly salary is around $100-$200 per month.