In 2022, about 1.2 billion people would definitely leave the country where they live if they could, according to a large study by the Gallup Institute. The number corresponds to 15% of the world’s population.today more than 8 billion people.
The percentage increased by 3 points compared to the previous survey, carried out in 2011. The desire to emigrate is greater among those who live in Sub-Saharan Africa (36%), which Latin America and the Caribbean (31%) e no Middle East and in North Africa (29%) —the three regions where this desire has increased the most in the last 12 years, with emphasis on Latin America and the Caribbean, where the difference is 13 percentage points.
At the other extreme, the Asia concentrates the regions where people are least willing to emigrate. In East Asia, only 4% of the population want to migrate, the lowest percentage on the planet. In 2011, it was 7%.
Gallup polled nearly 127,000 people age 15 and older in 122 countries. The study’s margin of error is 1 percentage point.
According to the survey, two other regions of the planet had a reduction in the desire to migrate over these years. At European Unionthe desire decreased by 4 percentage points and, in 2022, reached 16%, while in the so-called Commonwealth of Independent States, formed by the countries of the former Soviet Union, the reduction compared to 2011 was 3 points, reaching 12% in 2022.
Compared to 2021, however, the reduction was 9 percentage points. just before Russian troops invade Ukrainian territory and start the conflict that is Europe’s biggest security crisis since World War II21% of the population of the Commonwealth of Independent States wanted to emigrate.
The Ukrainian War forced millions of people to move to another country, generating more than 8 million refugees in Europeand to move internally, a situation in which more than 5 million people are currently in Ukraine, according to the UN.
The radical reversal of the desire for change in this region may have been undermined by these numbers, but also by other factors.
“My hypothesis is that the war generated a nationalist feeling in the Russian and Belarusian population, increasing the commitment to staying in the region”, evaluates Gilberto Rodrigues, professor of international relations at the Federal University of ABC. “Many families had their children drafted into the war and, for that reason, may have wanted to stay.”
For the researcher, it is essential, however, that a distinction be made between the variables that act in voluntary and forced migration. In the first case, factors such as unemployment and disenchantment act mainly, he says, while forced migration is affected by political conflicts, the rise of autocratic regimes and state violence.
Observing these indicators would help explain, for example, why Latin America and the Caribbean are the regions that have seen the greatest growth in the desire to migrate permanently over the last 12 years.
“Unemployment indicators show an upward curve in the region during this period, aggravated during the pandemic. And research shows that the population’s disenchantment with the democratic regime and its institutions is growing”, explains Rodrigues.
The highlight of the region is the Venezuelawhat became the origin of almost 7 million migrants in recent yearsbetween forced and voluntary, due to the political and economic crisis converted into a humanitarian crisis, with no prospect of resolution.
The greater presence of young people in the populations of Latin American and Caribbean countries, points out Rodrigues, is another important fact, since this is the group most likely to migrate. “While this factor may explain the reduction in the desire to permanently migrate from the European Union, where there are fewer young people and they, in general, have access to education, income and public services, in Latin America, on the contrary, there are many young people without education and without prospects.”
In Brazil, 36% of 18- to 24-year-olds neither work nor study, according to OECD data. This data puts the country in second place in terms of the lack of prospects for its youth, behind South Africa.
The unemployment-disenchantment combination also marks the other two regions where the desire to migrate grew the most in the period. Sub-Saharan Africa and the area encompassing the Middle East and North Africa are where unemployment rates break records on the planet and, in the case of the Maghreb region, where the promises of the Arab Spring ended up largely converted into political instability and authoritarianism.
Gallup also carried out a survey of which are the most desired destinations among those who want to emigrate, and the United States is the most mentioned, with 17% of the mentions of people who want to move to another country. Next are Canada (9%), Germany (5%) and France (4%), tied for fourth place with Spain and Australia.