ROME: One in five Tunisians would like to leave the country to find a better future, a report released by the Tunisian National Institute of Statistics has revealed.
The report was published in cooperation with the National Observatory on Migration and funded by the EU as part of the ProGreS Migration program.
It presents the main results of the first research on international migration conducted in the country between July 2020 and March 2021, providing an insight into migration from Tunisia’s perspective.
According to the study, nearly one person in five (19.9 percent) of those polled, aged 15 and older, said they would like to emigrate to live, work or study abroad.
However, only 14.3 percent of those who expressed a desire to leave said that they had already adopted a plan to do so.
The main reasons given for wanting to emigrate were to look for work, to find better working conditions and the hope of building a better life.
The study found that Europe (mainly France, Italy and Germany) was the top destination mentioned by seven in 10 potential migrants, followed by North American and Arab countries.
The willingness to emigrate varied significantly between genders — 25.6 percent of men compared to 14.7 percent of women.
The survey also revealed that the intention to emigrate decreased with age. While younger people expressed a strong desire to leave Tunisia, adults were less interested in going abroad — from 39.5 percent of 15 to 29-year-olds to 2.2 percent among people in their 60s.
The intention to emigrate increased with the level of education (from 2.7 percent among the illiterate to 29.5 percent among those with a higher level of education) and was even higher among those who had completed a professional training course (32.5 percent).
As far as marriage status was concerned, singles and separated or divorced were more willing to leave — 36.6 percent, 19.9 percent and 14.5 percent, respectively. Interest was significantly lower among those who had lost a spouse (2.2 percent) and married couples (9.3 percent).
The report said that unemployment represents a key factor for Tunisians wanting to leave: 35.8 percent of the unemployed polled said they wanted to go, as against 18.5 percent of the employed.
Since the beginning of this year more than 10,000 Tunisians have arrived in Italy despite joint efforts of the Tunisian and Italian governments to control the departures of migrants from the North African country.
When the political turmoil began in Tunisia, at the end of July, Italian intelligence services estimated that more than 15,000 Tunisians could reach Italy by the end of the year if the situation in the country did not improve.