More than half of Albanians want to emigrate, survey shows

More than half of Albanians want to emigrate, survey shows
The main reason given for wanting to leave Albania is to seek employment in another country
By bne IntelliNews June 14, 2017

More than half of Albania’s adult population would like to emigrate, a new poll from Gallup has shown. Albania was in joint second place (it tied with Haiti) on the poll of adults from 156 countries worldwide wanting to leave their country. First was Sierra Leone, which is recovering from a mass ebola outbreak.

The report attributes the desire to leave Albania to unemployment. Official statistics office data put the unemployment rate at 14.2% in Q1 2017, but unofficial reports put the actual rate as much higher, especially among young people. 

Albania is one of 31 countries and areas from which at least three in 10 adults say they would like to move permanently to another country if they could. 

“In many of these populations, desire to migrate has increased significantly, likely pushed higher for a host of reasons — for example, the civil war in Syria, chronic high unemployment rates in Albania and Italy, and the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone,” the report said. 

Also among these countries are Armenia (from where 47% of adults would like to migrate), Moldova (35%), Macedonia (34%) and Kosovo (34%). 

Globally, 14% of the world's adults, or nearly 710mn people, would like to move to another country, up from 13% between 2010 and 2012.

Albania has a history of mass migration. Many Albanians left their home country after the end of communism in the 1990s, driven out by poverty and lack of opportunity at home. The situation worsened dramatically in 1997 when huge pyramid schemes started to collapse sparking violent protests and bringing the country to the brink of civil war. 

However, the Gallup survey shows that even though Albania now has rapid economic growth - the World Bank forecasts 3.5% GDP growth in 2017 and 2018 - and was accepted as an EU candidate country in 2014, a large number of Albanians still see better opportunities abroad.