By Fares Braizat – December 22, 2018

It is alarming when nearly a third of adult Jordanians express a desire to emigrate, and a quarter of those who want to emigrate have taken action to realise their desire. These figures have doubled since 2011 in the context of growing dissatisfaction with public policies and public institutions’ performance, an increasing level of hopelessness and a sense of alienation. What is more alarming, however, is the make-up of potential emigrants. 

Forty-seven per cent of holders of a university degree or higher educational certificates expressed a willingness to emigrate, according to a recent survey of 1,300 adult Jordanians, by NAMA Strategic Intelligence Solutions. The figure drops to 32 per cent among people with secondary education and technical diplomas and to 24 per cent among people with less than secondary educational attainment. 

The empirical pattern uncovered in this study clearly confirms a common sense logic that a propensity towards emigration in harsh economic realities increases linearly as educational attainment increases. 

The youth demographic is dangerously sliding towards emigration, too. The propensity is significantly higher among the 18 to 24-year-old cohort than older cohorts, as 44 per cent of them expressed a desire to emigrate, compared with 37 per cent among the 25 to 30-year-old cohort. The figure stood at 36 per cent among the 31 to 35-year-old cohort, a third among the 41 to 50-year-olds and a quarter among those over 50 years old. Youth, especially the educated, are more likely to desert the homeland in search of better economic opportunities. The main driver for the majority of those educated youth to relocate is bad economic conditions. For some of them, especially the activists of the protest movement, it is not the lack of resources, they argue, that makes it difficult for them to realise their potential. Rather, it is the widespread corruption that is stifling equal opportunity, development and competition. Young people talk about the future because they have no or little past; their talk today is increasingly the language of migration.

Another problem may arise if the male population act on their emigration-positive attitude, as nearly 40 per cent of them would like to emigrate, compared with 24 per cent of females. The problem of late marriage becomes an issue that drives more human capital out of the country. Nearly half of those single reported that they would like to emigrate, compared with 28 per cent among married people. 

Today, empirical evidence suggests that more Jordanians are trapped at the lower half of the bottle and looking, somewhat hopelessly, at a narrowing neck through the promised economic revival plan lens. Given the economic policies and the resultant weak market mobility, it is expected that more Jordanians will be pushed out of the country to follow those who have left and deposited their wealth elsewhere. The conversation should go on.

The writer is the Chairman of NAMA Strategic Intelligence Solutions, H.E. Dr. Fares Braizat. 

This article was originally published in Jordan Times on December 22, 2018. For the original article source, click here

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