Post-Soviet Gallup poll: 15% want to leave

April 4, 2013 at 2:01 AM
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PRINCETON, N.J., April 4 (UPI) -- Armenians have the greatest wish among those in post-Soviet states to move elsewhere, while Uzbeks have the least, a Gallup poll released Wednesday indicates.

Forty percent of Armenians -- almost three times the 15 percent average -- want to move permanently to another country, while 5 percent of people in Uzbekistan, want out, the poll of adults indicated.

Armenia is a landlocked, mountainous South Caucasus country between Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Uzbekistan is a landlocked Central Asian country south of Kazakhstan, near Afghanistan.

Gallup conducted face-to-face surveys in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan from 2010 to 2012 and based its results on rolling averages.

Fourteen percent of Russians say they want to move, the poll indicated.

Most people surveyed say the main reason they want to leave is economic. Fifty-two percent of residents of the 12 former Soviet Union countries surveyed say they want to improve their standard of living or live in a country with a better standard of living, the poll found.

Another 10 percent say they want to get a good job or cannot find a job in their own country.

More than 1-in-8, or 13 percent, say they're thinking not of their own futures but of their children's in their wish to move.

Adults -- defined as people age 15 and older -- in Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, at 29 percent and 21 percent, respectively, are the most likely to cite their children's future as the main reason they want to migrate to another country.

Four percent or fewer list a desire for greater social entitlements such as retirement and medical benefits, stronger human rights, less crime or fewer environmental problems, the poll found.

"In contrast to the commonly held belief that reuniting families is one of the most important reasons for migration in the region, Gallup data show that it is not near the top of the list for residents in these 12 countries," Gallup said, indicating an average 3 percent say they want to be closer to family.

Those in Central Asian countries, and those age 50 and older, are more likely than others to say they want to move to be closer to family.

Gallup said governments in the former Soviet Union should make note of their citizens' concerns.

"If countries fail to provide good jobs, many residents in the region may act on their desire to leave their country to find better employment and a better standard of living for themselves and their families," Gallup said.

Gallup conducted the survey interviews with 41,072 people age 15 and older in the 12 countries.

Of the 4,519 respondents who said they wanted to move to another country permanently, the survey's margin of error is 2 percentage points. The error margin for subgroups is larger, Gallup said.

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