Social Survey: Every Fourth Bulgarian Planned to Live Abroad
One in four Bulgarians had intended to live abroad, according to a survey by Trend Research Center.
According to 22% of the interviewees, their acquaintance/relative has returned from abroad with the intention of living permanently in Bulgaria; 31% said that Bulgarians living abroad were happier than those living in Bulgaria, while 44% disagreed.
The survey was conducted from 26 November to 3 December 2020.
The study shows two important trends. One is that the financial support from people living abroad keeps in Bulgaria mainly younger ones who would otherwise go abroad. For the elderly, this financial assistance is particularly valuable. Here comes one of the great and traumatic psychological aspects of Bulgarian emigration - children look after elderly people abroad, not after their own parents.
The second thing the survey shows is the prestige of living abroad. It is prestigious to work abroad, to study abroad, to travel. Living or education abroad is seen as some kind of sure guarantee for a better future, children are often brought up with this conviction, which is part of the second psychological framework.
41% of Bulgarians say they have relatives living abroad, as people from the villages most often have relatives who left Bulgaria.
27% of those who have relatives abroad say they receive financial assistance from them, 70% say they don't get it. People aged 60-69 and 70+ most often say that they receive such financial assistance from relatives abroad.
80% of people who receive such financial assistance say they cannot cope without it. Only 14% said they could do without this financial support.
A third of people who receive financial assistance from relatives say they would go abroad if they did not receive this support. This is true in the highest proportion of the youngest. 54% of Bulgarians say that they would not leave.
Among the main reasons for the emigration of their relatives, 61% point to the economic situation in Bulgaria, 51% quote "a better life" and 13% education abroad. Among other highlighted reasons is a marriage/relationship with a foreigner.
24% of Bulgarians said that they intended to live abroad and 70% did not share such an intent. Among the main reasons for not leaving Bulgaria are the family/ relatives/ parents - 27%. 13% said they had a good job and a good realization, and 8% because of young children/grandchildren. Among the listed reasons are also elderly relatives, love for Bulgaria, desire for development in Bulgaria, fear of the unknown, less stressful life in Bulgaria, etc.
22% of people say they have an acquaintance/relative who has returned from abroad with the intention of living permanently in Bulgaria, 76% say they don't.
According to 52% of Bulgarians working abroad means higher social standing, as 33% disagree. Te proportion of those who think it is prestigious is the highest among the youngest. 83% say it is prestigious to study abroad, and only 8% are of the opposite opinion. For 75% it is prestigious to travel abroad often, 12% think it's not true.
In the opinion of 56% of Bulgarians surveyed, people who graduated abroad have better opportunities for realization in Bulgaria, and only 4% think the opposite. 24% are of the opinion that they have the same opportunities as those who were educated in Bulgaria.
When asked "Do you think living abroad is easy or not easy?" 14% said it was easy and 71% disagreed.
31% say that Bulgarians living abroad are happier than those living in Bulgaria, 44% don't think they're happier.
According to social researcher Evelina Slavkova, the study shows that emigration has always been a particularly sensitive topic in our society.
Two are the main psychological frameworks for emigration - on the one hand, it is the feeling that these people are "banished" from Bulgaria, seeking a livelihood outside the country. The other is that life is better there and parents want their children to go abroad, study there, live there, etc., Slavkova thinks.
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