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Nearly half of Jordanians want to emigrate — survey

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(Photo: Shutterstock/Jordan News)
AMMAN — A recently published survey by Arab Barometer on migration in the MENA region has revealed that nearly half of Jordanians, at 48 percent, want to leave the Kingdom. The lowest percentage was recorded in Egypt, at 13 percent.اضافة اعلان

An analysis of the survey results shows that the desire to emigrate is high across MENA. Levels are highest in Jordan, Sudan, and Tunisia, where nearly half of the population expressed the desire to leave. In other parts of the region, around a third say they consider emigrating: Lebanon (38 percent), Iraq (35 percent), and Morocco (34 percent). Furthermore, a quarter in Palestine and a fifth in Libya share the same sentiment. Notably, the only two countries where less than a fifth of the population say they consider emigrating are Mauritania (18 percent) and Egypt (13 percent).

The above are among the main findings of 10 nationally representative public opinion surveys conducted across the MENA region from 2021 to 2022 as part of Arab Barometer Wave VII. The results were based on nearly 23,000 interviews across the region; they have a margin of error of approximately 2 percent in each country. Overall, these results make clear that for people across MENA migration remains an open option, especially for the younger, better educated generations, mainly to escape economic hardships.

Those who want to emigrate are more likely to be male, young, well-educated segments of the population. Youth across the region are significantly more likely to say they consider leaving their countries compared to their older counterparts.

At least half of the people wanting to emigrate across the region say they want to leave their country because of the economic conditions. The percentage is highest in Egypt (97 percent) and Jordan (93 percent), where virtually all potential migrants say it is for economic reasons.

Other reasons mentioned by minorities across the region include security factors, political reasons, and educational opportunities.

The survey results make clear that youth in the region are significantly more interested in emigration than their older compatriots. In all surveyed countries, youths aged 18–29 said they wanted to emigrate by a margin of at least six points compared to those 30 or older. In Tunisia and Jordan, nearly two thirds (65 percent and 63 percent, respectively) of youth say they are considering emigrating, compared to slightly more than a third of older Tunisians (37 percent) and older Jordanians (39 percent).
Canada is the preferred destination for roughly three-in-ten potential migrants in Jordan and Lebanon.
Additionally, men across the region are significantly more likely to want to emigrate compared to women. At least half of men in Jordan (56 percent), Tunisia (52 percent), and Sudan (50 percent) say they want to leave their countries.

Canada is the preferred destination for roughly three-in-ten potential migrants in Jordan (30 percent) and Lebanon (29 percent), and a fifth in Morocco (21 percent) and Libya (20 percent). The UAE is the preferred destination for 15 percent of potential migrants in Lebanon and 13 percent in Jordan, while 16 percent in Lebanon, 14 percent in Mauritania, and one-in-ten in Jordan prefer Qatar.

In no country is there a majority choosing one state as a preferred destination. Several factors contribute to people’s preferences. These include historical trends of migration, language, proximity, and perceived opportunities.

While Jordanians, Lebanese, and Mauritanians prefer a move to North America, Egyptians and Sudanese prefer a Gulf country. North Africans tend to choose France or other European country as their preferred destinations.

While a third of Jordanians (35 percent) and Mauritanians (33 percent) wanting to leave their country choose the US as their preferred destination, less than 10 percent share this preference among potential migrants in Egypt (8 percent), Tunisia (4 percent), and Iraq where virtually no one wants to emigrate to the US.

There are significant differences by education levels when it comes to migration. Those with college degrees or higher are significantly more likely to consider emigrating, compared to those with lower levels of educational attainment. This reality shows the real risk of brain drain in the region. Among the college educated, more than half in Sudan (60 percent), Jordan (56 percent), and Tunisia (56 percent) say they want to leave their countries, compared to their less-educated compatriots (34 percent, 43 percent, and 42 percent, respectively).

The Arab Barometer is a nonpartisan research network that provides insight into the social, political, and economic attitudes and values of ordinary citizens across the Arab world. It has been conducting nationally representative public opinion surveys on probability samples of the adult populations across the Arab world since 2006.


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