Tunisian protesters during a demonstration against tax hikes and austerity measures | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/MOHAMED MESSARA
Tunisian protesters during a demonstration against tax hikes and austerity measures | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/MOHAMED MESSARA

More than half of Tunisian between the age of 18 and 35 are thinking about emigrating, according to a new survey. One in ten Tunesians is making concrete plans to leave.

In Tunesia, 56 percent of all people between the age of 18 and 35 have considered leaving their country, as well as 53 percent of all highly educated people. That's what a survey conducted by Afrobarometer, an independent pan-African research network, found. Afrobarometer carries out surveys into public attitudes about democracy, governance, economic conditions and related issues in African countries. The survey was conducted on a sample of 1,200 Tunisians over the age of 18 between April 1 and May 5, 2018.

In total, about one-third of Tunesians surveyed said they had considered moving to another country - one-quarter said they had given it "a lot" of thought. Afrometer found, however, that only one in ten people were currently making plans to leave. 

The reasons: Unemployment and economic hardship

The potential emigrants cited unemployment and economic hardship as the most important reasons why they want to leave the country. Their preferred destination was Europe. 

The survey found that the older someone was, the less likely he or she was to consider emigrating: 56 percent of people between 18 and 35 had seriously considered leaving, compared with 28 percent of those between 36 and 55, and 11 percent of those over 56. 

Interest in emigration also increased with educational level. Only 8 percent of illiterate people considered leaving their home country, compared to more than half of those with a post-secondary education (typically, this means a university education.) 

More men (39 percent) and city inhabitants (38 percent) than women (31 percent) and rural inhabitants (28 percent) were considering emigration. 

94,000 left between 2011 and 2017 

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reports that between 2011 and 2017, about 94,000 people left Tunisia, 84 percent of whom went to Europe. The country has also witnessed a huge wave of illegal migration since the 2011 uprising, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). 
 

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