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More and More People Want to Migrate

At least half of Syrians say they would like to migrate. Here, young men from Syria record their move out of their country on their mobile phones.
At least half of Syrians say they would like to migrate. Here, young men from Syria record their move out of their country on their mobile phones.
More and More People Want to Migrate
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A recent study found that more than 750 million people would move permanently to another country if they had the chance. In other words, 15 percent of the world’s population wants to migrate.

The Gallup company carried out the study. Researchers spoke to close to 500,000 people in 152 countries. They found that the desire to migrate rose between 2015 and 2017.

But the reasons people want to move from their home countries remain the same, said Gallup official Jon Clifton. They want to flee a crisis, or they are seeking better economic opportunities. Starvation and disaster also continue to drive people from their homes, Gallup found.

Where do people want to leave?

One of the top 10 countries people want to leave is Syria. Gallup researchers found that at least 50 percent of Syrians want to migrate permanently and leave the war there behind.

People in several places in Latin America are also showing growing desires to migrate, Gallup found.

Gallup official Jon Clifton gave Venezuela as an example. Even though the country is rich in oil, it has fallen into a crisis, Clifton said. The United Nations estimates that around 2 million Venezuelans left their country in 2018.

The desire to leave for another country also increased in a number of areas known for sending migrants. These include sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa. One reason is that parts of Africa have had to deal with a spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

In Europe, people in Albania had the highest rates of wanting to leave. Gallup reports that 60 percent of Albanians want to migrate. Clifton said many Albanians were unhappy about the amount of money they could earn, and how little it could buy.

Other Balkan countries also showed high rates of migration desires. Clifton said the trend there was especially troubling, because it affected the youngest and most educated part of the population.

Separately, Gallup noted that in all regions of Asia "the percentage of adults who would like to move to another country permanently has remained flat."

Where do people want to go?

The Gallup survey found that people who want to migrate hope to go to wealthy countries that observe the rule of law.

Gallup has been doing the survey for the last 13 years, Clifton said. During that time, the United States has always been the first choice for people who want to migrate. This year is no different, he said, even though U.S. President Donald Trump has taken measures and spoken out against migrants.

“People still see that this is one of the best economic opportunities for them in the world," Clifton said of the United States. Many people around the world also have family members in the country already.

The Gallup survey found that one in five possible migrants said the United States would be their first choice for a new home.

The survey also found that one in six Americans would like to migrate somewhere else – the highest number so far.

I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.

Ardita Dunellari from VOA News. Kelly Jean Kelly adapted it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.


Words in This Story

trend - n. a general direction of change

opportunity - n. an amount of time or a situation in which something can be done​

survey - n. an activity in which many people are asked a question or a series of questions in order to gather information about what most people do or think about something​