The Arab Barometer, which is the largest repository of publicly available data on citizens’ opinions in the MENA region, released on Tuesday worrying data about the numbers of Lebanese people now seeking to leave their country for opportunities abroad.
According to its new survey covering 15 countries between 2020 and the spring of 2021, the Lebanese people are today the most pessimistic about their economic future.
One of the growing economic worries revolves around the increasing cost of living. “Unsurprisingly, about half of citizens (48%) are seeking to leave their homeland for better opportunities abroad.”
That’s about 1 in 2 people today in Lebanon.
Unlike what one would assume, the main reason for their desire to emigrate is not mainly the economic crisis, nor majorly.
Only 7% said that the economic condition is their main reason, while 44% want to emigrate because of corruption, 29% for security considerations, and 22% for political reasons.
This implies that “citizens are even more frustrated by the failure of the political system which ultimately led to the financial crisis,” the report noted.
According to the research network, unlike in most countries surveyed, there is not a notable gender gap in the desire to emigrate. 49% of men and 46% of women in Lebanon want to leave their homeland.
In addition, 63% of the youth (between 18 and 29) want to leave due to a “lack of hope.”
“Lebanon is also at risk for brain drain, with 61% of those with a college education wanting to emigrate compared with 37% of those with a secondary degree or less,” the survey reported.
Arab Barometer commented that, in 2018-2019, only 26% of Lebanese citizens wanted to emigrate, and 12% of them said they were even willing to leave without the proper documents.
Today, the situation has even worsened since then, and almost half of the Lebanese population wants to leave.