Nearly half of all young Arabs aged 18-24 have considered emigrating from their home countries, according to findings of the Arab Youth Survey 2020, Al Jazeera reported on Tuesday.
The poll said that the Levant has the highest percentage of all regions in the Middle East of youth who want to move abroad, with 63% expressing such a desire. The country with the highest percentage is Lebanon, where 77% of its youth wished to emigrate.
By contrast, only 3% of youth in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates wanted to leave, the survey found.
The poll reflects feelings engendered by widespread economic crises sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, and poor leadership and corruption that is rampant in many nations in the region. Indeed, 77% of Arab youth said that corruption was present where they live.
According to the survey, 20% of Arab youth said that either they or a member of their family had lost their job due to the pandemic, and 72% have found difficulty finding more work. Young Arabs struggling most with finding employment are in Jordan, at 90%, and Lebanon, at 91%.
The survey also found that 35% of young Arabs have amassed personal debt, compared to 21% in 2019.
The data regarding Lebanon is not surprising, with a growing economic and political crisis already stoking severe tension in the country manifested through mass protests over the past year. The crisis was compounded by the recent devastating explosion at the port of Beirut where almost 200 people were killed, and thousands of homes were destroyed. All this has served to further highlight the dissatisfaction of the Lebanese people with its leadership.
Other Middle Eastern nations to have experienced anti-government protests in 2019 were Iraq, Sudan and Algeria, and they effected regime change in Algeria and Sudan.
And, like Lebanon, the youth of those countries showed overwhelming support (80%) for the 2019 protests according to the survey, Al Jazeera reported.