A Quarter of Bulgarians are ready to Emigrate

Society | February 3, 2023, Friday // 14:44
Bulgaria: A Quarter of Bulgarians are ready to Emigrate Sofia Airport

Exactly a quarter of Bulgarians state that if they had all the necessary documents, they would go to live in another country. This is shown by the results of a survey of public opinion by "Gallup International" in 57 countries, covering about two-thirds of the global population. Global results indicate that 36 percent of citizens are ready to migrate to another country.

In Bulgaria, 25% express such willingness, a majority of two thirds (67%) answer that they would stay living here. Few (8%) are those who cannot give an answer.

Contrary to the popular idea about the attitudes towards migration in our country, Bulgaria ranks rather at the back in the desire of citizens to live abroad, states "Gallup".

The desire to migrate among our neighbors from Greece (40%), Romania (38%) and North Macedonia (42%), for example, is significantly stronger. Close to us in their attitudes are countries such as Spain (27%), the Netherlands (29%), Sweden (23%) and Austria (23%).

The explanation for the attitudes in our country can be partly due to the decade-long migration to the countries of Western Europe and North America since the 1990s, which led to a situation in which those who wished to live abroad have already left, Gallup notes. Factors such as the possibility of remote work, an increase in the standard of living and access to services, lifestyle and goods, no different from those in the rest of the EU countries, are also not to be underestimated.

In recent years, there has also been a certain change in migration attitudes in our country as a whole - high levels of desire to travel abroad for the purpose of education, development, qualification, more security and higher incomes remain high, but not so much for migrating for permanently in another country. Living abroad, while attractive, takes on the shape of a specific time horizon – more like mobility, for example with travel opportunities within the EU, rather than migration as a fateful life decision.

Attitudes in our country are in line with EU averages. There, on average, one in three would prefer to live in another country if possible. 59% of Europeans prefer to stay in the country they are in now, according to Gallup.

The results of the survey in 57 countries show that 36% of those asked around the world want to migrate. Especially young people in a difficult economic situation are among the potential migrants. Migratory majorities are found in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

36% of the respondents answered "another country" to the question "If you had the necessary documents, would you like to live in another country or would you prefer to stay in the country you are in?", 59% answered that they would prefer to stay where they are, and the rest cannot judge.

Young (under 34) respondents are significantly more likely to leave the country in which they live. Almost one in two (44%) young people who took part in the research said that if they had the opportunity, they would like to live in another country. Among young people, the desire to leave is 8 points higher than the average and 21 points more than that of the oldest respondents (over 55), of whom only 23% say they would like to live elsewhere.

Respondents from lower-income countries are significantly more likely to emigrate. 62% of respondents in lower-income countries (those classified by the World Bank as earning less than US$1,085 per capita per year or less) expressed motivation to live in another country.

Among the different regions of the world, the desire to migrate to another country is strongest in Sub-Saharan Africa (where 56% of respondents would like to live in another country if possible). This is followed by Latin America (54%). The least expressed desire to live abroad is in South Asia.

The countries where the desire to migrate is the greatest are Sierra Leone (84%), Ghana (81%) and Nigeria (71%). The residents of India (4%), Vietnam (8%), Japan (14%) and others would least like to live in another country.

Commenting on the results, Kancho Stoychev, president of the Gallup International Association, states:

"The fact that every third (and even more) of the inhabitants of the 57 countries surveyed want to emigrate is more than indicative. The reasons for changing the country in which you live are certainly diverse and the comparison of countries is not entirely appropriate. Obviously is that economic circumstances dominate such a decision, but they are far from the only ones. It seems, indeed, that a strong cultural identity is the most powerful factor for the opposite - to stay in one's country. That is why we register relatively low levels of such intentions in countries like India, Vietnam, Japan and Russia."

In the Gallup International survey, a total of 54,329 people were interviewed on a global scale. In each country, around 1,000 people were interviewed face-to-face, by phone or online between August and October 2022. The countries participating in the research are 57. The statistical error in the research is in the range of ±3-5% with a confidence interval of 95%.

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Tags: emigrate, Migration, Bulgaria, EU

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