Unemployment is Main Reason of Emigration, According to Survey

Image from a busy street in Yerevan. (Source: Arka)
Image from a busy street in Yerevan. (Source: Arka)

Image from a busy street in Yerevan. (Source: Arka)

YEREVAN (Arka) — According to the head of the Sociometer Polling Center Aharon Adibekyan, Armenia loses 3-4% of its population annually. The negative balance of migration in Armenia in 2015 was at 7.2% or about 220,000 people while the natural population growth rate is 2.5-3.5%, Adibekyan mentioned while speaking at a press conference.

“This is not a permanent loss, as there is the factor of labor migrants who return to their homeland. In addition, it is natural for many nations to have about 10% of their population living abroad,” Adibekyan told a news conference.

Adibekyan had conducted a survey by his polling center in 2015 that involved 3,300 households in all the regions of the country. The survey showed that 31% of the citizens are potential emigrants and about 75% of those are people between the ages of 19 to 50.

According to the findings of the survey, 19.3% said would leave for another country if they had enough financial means, 7.9% said they would like to leave but could not because of age, and 3.9% were  ready to leave the country if they had interesting job offers.

The reasons behind this desire, according to Adibekyan, are low wages or no wages, difficult social conditions and lack of hope for a secure future.

Much fewer people indicated a desire to be reunited with a family abroad, to continue education abroad or hostility to the country’s leadership. Low salary as a reason to leave the country was mentioned by 33.9% of respondents, 8.1% mentioned hard social situation, 6.5% mentioned low pensions, and 4.4% problems with the payment for medical treatment.

Adibekyan also added while speaking at a press conference that about 600,000 Armenians left their country during President Levon Ter Petrosyan’s term (1991-1998), following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Nagorno-Karabakh war and a time of mass unemployment.

During President Robert Kocharyan’s term (1998-2008), some 130,000 people left for other countries and another 260,000 emigrated during the current President Serzh Sarkisian’s tenure (2008 – present).

“It turns out that about 1 million people left Armenia since its independence,” Adibekyan said. T the main reason is the socio-psychological situation. About 90% of the population migrated to Russia, while the remaining 10% to other countries.

“Russia has become a kind of a ‘black hole’ by absorbing Armenian emigrants, although some choose to return back now due to unfavorable economic situation in that country,” said Adibekyan.

In addition, about one third of Armenia’s population is ready to emigrate abroad if they had the opportunity.

Officially Armenia’s permanent population as of January 1, 2016 was less than 3 million, for the first time since 1970s, standing at 2.9 million, according to the National Statistical Service (NSS). The number had decreased by 12,000 from the previous year.

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2 Comments

  1. Norin said:

    The main problem is not the issue of “lack of economic opportunity”, the main problem is a national confusion as to what Armenia’s currency is and how exchange rates should be considered. Everyone in Armenia is viewing their economic outlook in U.S. Dollars instead of Armenian Drams, this is a preposterous way of viewing one’s financial status in Armenia. To make matters worse, everyone wants to conduct commerce in real dollar values in par with what prices are in the U.S. Cup of coffee, $3.50, souvenirs $20-$100 in vernisazh, doctor’s visit, $100. How can a nation of 2.9 million people operate with these types of prices when the average individual per capita income runs between $50 to $250 dollars per month?! There is about a 500 to 1 Dram to dollar exchange rate right now, yet Poghos Poghosyans in Armenia want to sell a Nardi set for $100 and then go blow through their earnings in 1 day due to Armenian “B” charging $15 for lunch. Cab drivers want to get paid in real dollar amounts instead of a Dram rates. The Dram to Dollar exchange rate is not 1 to 1, so why are Armenians expecting to get paid for anything as if they purchase is being made in the US? Everything should be lowered in price and only Drams should be used so that the cost of living is on par with the geographic regions, they live in Armenia but want to buy/sell as if they are living in the US. Any nation that practices this will have a tough time economically and the cost of living will be ridiculous.

    • Shant said:

      Norin,

      Aprik! Everything you have said is correct. We simply cannot sustain this “logic” in Armenia. As I am sure you know, this “logic” stems from Armenians wanting to live as though they are multi-millionaires, driving Porsche Cayennes, Bentleys, and AMG Mercedes, to their gigantic house they can barely afford. If people would use more reason, they would understand that living within their means is much more intelligent and respectable, than an attempt to show off what they have. This mentality does nothing more than bleed the country in the form of debt and dependency.

      On the other side, though, we must understand that the U.S. dollar is the reserve currency for various items around the world. It’s not as if we are buying our imports with drams, we are purchasing our imports with Euros or U.S. dollars.

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