Author: 
ARAB NEWS
Publication Date: 
Thu, 2011-03-31 04:20

This is the key finding of the 10-country survey unveiled Wednesday in Dubai and New York. Conducted by leading international polling firm Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), the Third Annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey included 2,000 face-to-face interviews with Arab nationals and Arab expatriates between the ages of 18-24 in the six Gulf Cooperation Council nations (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE), as well as in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. These interviews were conducted in December 2010 and January 2011.
In February and March of this year, in the wake of protests across the region, PSB conducted an additional poll of 500 young people in five countries, including Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. These findings reveal that, while the importance of democracy is even more pronounced, it is balanced by a desire for stability. Support of the protests is high among this group, and so is the belief in the positive impact of these movements. However, young people in these countries are markedly less confident that their own countries are moving in the right direction than they were just a few months earlier.
“During this period of seismic change across much of the Arab world, it is more important than ever that we understand the hopes, fears and aspirations of the region’s youth,” said Mark Penn, Worldwide CEO of Burson-Marsteller. “As our 2009 survey showed, and as this year’s report further validates, the highest priority for young people in the region remains participation and representation in the political life of their country of residence. Recent events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere are the manifestation of this fundamental truth: Arab youth have a deep and enduring desire for democracy.”
“In a region where two-thirds of the population is under the age of 30, policymakers, business leaders, marketers and the media need to understand the priorities of our young people,” said Joseph Ghossoub, Chairman and CEO of the MENACOM Group, regional parent of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller. “We strongly believe that the 2010 ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey should be required reading for everyone who has a stake in the future of this diverse and rapidly evolving region.”
“We are proud to produce, on an annual basis, the largest survey of young people in the Arab world, which reflects our commitment to evidence-based communication,” said Sunil John, CEO of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, the Middle East’s leading public relations consultancy. “From political beliefs to personal values, from online trends to educational aspirations, the ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey covers an unmatched array of key issues informing the future direction of the Arab world.”
Other key findings of the Third Annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey include the following insights:
 
* The high cost of living is perceived as the most significant challenge, followed by unemployment; in both instances, the level of concern is much higher among youth in non-Gulf states than in Gulf states
 
* Arab youth are significantly more concerned about the gap between the rich and poor than they were in 2009, especially in Jordan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia
 
* While 63 percent of GCC youth say they expect to pursue further education, just 14 percent of non-GCC youth believe the same
 
* Arab youth prefer to work in the private sector (47 percent), rather than the public sector (40 percent), although Saudi youth (79 percent) strongly prefer to work for government; more than half of all regional youth say that they intend to start their own business in the next five years
 
* Eighty percent of Arab youth now say they use the Internet on a daily basis, up from 56 percent in 2009; social networking is also expanding dramatically
 
* Television remains by far both the most popular and most trusted source of news for youth across the region
 
* Arab youth say that traditional values are extremely important to them, especially youth in Iraq (94 percent) and Bahrain (91 percent)
 
* Young Arabs have increasingly favorable views of major global powers, although Gulf and non-Gulf youth have very different perceptions about the dominant powers in the East and West; youth across the region also say that the concept of global citizenship is increasingly important to them
 
 
 
METHODOLOGY
The 2010 ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey was designed to uncover country differences and common trends, looking at issues including: attitudes to democracy, access to technology, media consumption trends, social media networking, and attitudes towards education and employment.
The respondents were selected to provide an accurate reflection of each country’s demographic, geographic, and socio-economic mix. The 2,000 respondents included 250 young people from the UAE, 200 each from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman and Qatar; and 150 from Iraq. The entire sample was weighted to include 20 percent of respondents from the AB socio-economic group; 35 percent from C1 and 45 percent from C2. The gender split of the survey was 60:40 male to female.
All those taking part were young Arabs, and were either citizens of each country, or a mix of nationals and expatriates according to the demographic mix in each market surveyed. This meant that respondents in Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Oman were all nationals; in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, respondents were 75 percent nationals and 25 percent expatriates; and in Qatar and the UAE, there was a 50:50 split between both groups.
The geographic location of respondents was also taken into account by PSB when developing the fieldwork methodology — with 40 percent of Saudi Arabian respondents living in Jeddah, another 40 percent in Riyadh, and 20 percent based in Dammam, for example.
In the same way, UAE respondents were drawn from three of the country’s emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah; Kuwait’s youth from four distinct regions: Kuwait City, Al Hawalli, Al Ahmadi, and Al Farwaniya; Lebanese youth from East and West Beirut, and from Tripoli; and so on across each country.
When analyzed, this geographic spread provides a more accurate national picture than findings based solely on the responses of those living in capital cities.
 
Following unrest in the Middle East in January 2011, PSB conducted an additional 500 interviews in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain and Iraq. These interviews were conducted among Arab national youth aged 18-24. This fieldwork was conducted between Feb. 26-March 5, 2011, in capital cities.
All comparative data related to the survey update compares only findings from the five relevant countries (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain and Iraq) during the December 2010-January 2011 and February-March 2011 periods.
 
 
   Top 10 Findings of the 2010 ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey
 
1. AN ENDURING DESIRE FOR DEMOCRACY
The highest priority for young Arabs is living in a democratic country, reflecting similar priorities in the previous Arab Youth Survey:
 
* 65 percent of all respondents said that living in a democracy is “very important” to them, the highest priority among all options
 
* When asked to name their single greatest priority, 80 percent of non-GCC respondents and 60 percent of GCC respondents cited “living in a democratic country”
 
* Iraqi youth placed the greatest emphasis on living in a democracy, with 91 percent saying this is “very important,” followed by Jordan (85 percent), Egypt (78 percent) and Kuwait/UAE (75 percent)
 
* Qatari youth place by far the least importance on democracy (33 percent)
 
2. ANXIETY GROWS ABOUT RISING COST OF LIVING
The greatest current perceived challenge and concern among young Arabs is the rising cost of living:
 
* 48 percent of respondents ranked the rising cost of living as one of the greatest challenges, followed by unemployment (36 percent)
 
* Gulf youth (54 percent) were significantly more concerned about the rising cost of living than were their peers outside the Gulf (39 percent)
 
* When asked about their greatest concerns – as opposed to the greatest challenges – Arab youth similarly prioritized the rising cost of living: 58 percent said they were very concerned about this, down from 67 percent in 2009
 
* Concerns about the high cost of living are especially acute in Egypt (77 percent), Lebanon (71 percent) and Bahrain (68 percent)
 
 
 
3. GAP BETWEEN RICH & POOR OF INCREASING CONCERN
The most significant increase in perceived concerns among young Arabs is the gap between rich and poor:
 
* Among all concerns, the gap between the rich and poor saw the highest increase: from 33 percent in 2009 to 43 percent in 2010
 
* This issue is of much greater concern to non-GCC Arabs youth (53 percent) than to their peers in the Gulf (39 percent)
 
* Concerns about the wealth divide are highest in Jordan/Lebanon (63 percent), Saudi Arabia (59 percent) and Bahrain/Iraq (53 percent)
 
4. LESS OPTIMISM ABOUT ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND FUTURE OUTLOOK
Overall, the majority of Arab youth continue to believe that their country of residence is heading in the right direction:
 
* 61 percent of respondents believe that their country of residence is heading in the right direction, down from 66 percent in 2009
 
* While GCC youth (68 percent) are more optimistic than their non-Gulf peers (49 percent), Gulf youth are 11 percent less optimistic than in 2009, while non-Gulf youth are 12 percent more optimistic than in 2009
 
* Qatari youth (88 percent) are the most optimistic, followed by Kuwaiti youth (73 percent)
 
* Lebanese (35 percent) and Egyptian youth (38 percent) are the least optimistic, while Saudi youth have experienced the greatest negative shift in outlook (down from 98 percent in 2009 to 62 percent in 2010)
 
* Iraqi youth are relatively optimistic, with 57 percent saying that they believe that their country of residence in heading in the right direction
 
4.1 Perceptions of domestic economic recovery from the impact of the financial crisis vary widely, with more positive sentiment in the Gulf:
 
* Only 15 percent of GCC residents say their country has “not at all” recovered from the financial crisis, compared to 27 percent of non-GCC residents
 
* 41 percent of GCC residents say their country has “completely” recovered from the impact of the crisis, compared to just 3 percent of non-GCC residents
 
* 75 percent of Qatari youth believe their country has “completely” recovered from the impact of the financial crisis, followed by Kuwait (61 percent) and Oman (46 percent)
 
* Lebanese youth are the most pessimistic in this regard, with 56 percent saying that their country has “not at all” recovered from the financial crisis and 0% saying their country has “completely” recovered
 
* 44 percent of Egyptian youth say their country has “not at all” recovered from the financial crisis, and 0 percent say their country has “completely” recovered
 
* Bahraini youth are also pessimistic with 42 percent saying their country has “not at all” recovered from the financial crisis but 23 percent saying their country has “completely” recovered
 
5. EDUCATION GAP WIDENS BETWEENS GULF STATES AND OTHER ARAB COUNTRIES
The educational expectation gap between GCC and non-GCC Arab youth is extremely wide, and appears likely to widen further:
 
* 63 percent of GCC youth currently in school say they expect to pursue further education, compared to just 14 percent of non-GCC youth
 
* 90 percent of UAE youth expect to pursue further education, followed by Kuwait (74 percent), Oman (63v) and Bahrain (57v)
 
* Just 9 percent of Jordanian youth say they expect to pursue further education; low expectation levels also exist in Iraq (11 percent) and Lebanon (12 percent) and Egypt (21 percent)
 
6. INCREASING PREFERENCE TO WORK IN PRIVATE SECTOR, EAGERNESS TO START OWN BUSINESS
Most Gulf Arab youth would prefer to work for the government, while most of their non-GCC peers aspire to a private-sector career:
 
* Among all youth surveyed, there is now a slight preference to work in the private sector (47 percent) versus the public sector (40 percent)
 
* Most Gulf Arabs, and especially Saudi youth (79 percent) would prefer to work for the government, while few non-Gulf youth wish to work for the government, notably in Egypt (9 percent), Iraq (20 percent) and Lebanon/Jordan (23 percent)
 
* Most non-Gulf Arab youth are strongly attracted to the private sector, led by Lebanon (72 percent), Iraq (67 percent) and Jordan (66 percent)
 
6.1 Just over half of all regional youth say they intend to start their own business in the next five years:
 
* 51 percent of all regional youth say they intend to start their own business in the next five years, with entrepreneurial ambitions most pronounced in Saudi Arabia (90 percent), Oman (66 percent) and the UAE (64 percent)
 
* Gulf Arab youth have much greater entrepreneurial aspirations, with 62 percent saying they intend to start their own business in the next five years, compared to 32 percent of non-GCC youth
 
* 61 percent of Egyptian youth say they do not intend to start their own business in the next five years
 
* Just 29 percent of Egyptian and Iraqi youth say they do they intend to start their own business in the next five years
 
7. INTERNET MAKES MORE INROADS, WITH SOCIAL MEDIA GROWING IN IMPORTANCE
Internet usage among regional youth continues to increase significantly and nearly equally among GCC and non-GCC youth:
 
* 80 percent of regional youth say they use the Internet on a daily basis, up from just 56 percent in 2009
 
* There is no statistically significant difference between Internet usage among GCC youth (81 percent) and non-GCC youth (79 percent)
 
* 91 percent of Qatari youth say they access the Internet daily, followed by Lebanon (86 percent), Oman (83 percent) and Jordan/Bahrain (82 percent)
 
* Egyptian youth are the least frequent Internet users, with 68 percent saying they access the Internet every day
 
 
7.1 The primary online activities among Arab youth are listening to music and social networking:
 
* 66 percent of regional youth say they listen to music online, a 5 percent increase from 2009
 
* 60 percent of regional youth say they engage in online social networking, an increase of 28 percent from 2009
 
* Social networking is especially popular among youth in Iraq (83 percent), Egypt (72 percent) and Kuwait (69 percent)
 
* Just 36 percent of Saudi youth say they engage in online social networking
 
* 18 percent of regional youth say they read blogs, up from just 5 percent in 2009
 
* Just 10 percent of regional youth say they shop online, and only 6 percent say they bank online
 
8. TELEVISION THE MOST TRUSTED AND POPULAR SOURCE OF NEWS
Television remains the most popular source of news, followed by newspapers and online news sources; television is also the most trusted source of news:
 
* 80 percent of regional youth say they get their news from television, followed by newspapers (64 percent) and online (46 percent); just 17 percent of regional youth say they get their news from friends and family
 
* 60 percent of Arab youth say that television is the most trusted source of news, followed by newspapers (19 percent) and online (11 percent)
 
* Qatari youth (85 percent) have the highest level of trust in television news, while Bahraini youth (25 percent) have the lowest level of trust in television news
 
9. TRADITIONAL VALUES ARE PARAMOUNT, WHILE PARENTS GROW IN INFLUENCE
Traditional values and their preservation for future generations is important to youth across the region, especially in Iraq and Bahrain:
 
* 82 percent of all youth (in both the Gulf and non-Gulf states) say that “traditional values means a lot to me, and ought to be preserved for generations to come”
 
* Iraqi youth (94 percent) agree most strongly with this sentiment, followed by Bahraini youth (91 percent) and Qatari youth (88 percent)
 
* Surprisingly, Saudi youth are least likely to agree with this sentiment, with only 69 percent saying that traditional values are paramount, followed by Jordanian youth (71 percent)
 
* Among all those surveyed, parents are identified as having the greatest influence on how youth see themselves and their outlook on life, cited by 83 percent of youth, up from 64 percent in 2009
 
* Family (72 percent), religion (68 percent) and friends (59 percent) all also have increasing influence on Arab youth
 
* Pop stars (25 percent), community leaders (27 percent) and political figures (28 percent) are seen as the least significant influences among Arab youth
 
10. INCREASE IN POSITIVE PERCEPTION OF GLOBAL POWERS, GROWING SENSE OF GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP
Young Arabs have increasingly favorable views of the major global powers — although the views of specific nations sometimes diverge significantly:
 
* Regional youth have the most favourable views of the UK, with 41 percent of Arab youth saying the view the country “very favorably,” up from just 25 percent in 2009
 
* Lebanese youth have the most favorable view of the UK, with 41 percent of them saying the view the country “very favorably,” compared to very low favorability rankings of the UK among Jordanian and Qatari youth
 
* France, Germany and the US are also viewed positively, with between 36-37 of respondents saying they view these countries “very favorably”
 
* Both China and India are viewed somewhat less positively, with 29 percent viewing China “very favurably” and 26 percent viewing India “very favorably”
 
* Favorability towards all foreign countries surveyed is generally higher among GCC youth than non-GCC youth
 
* 44 percent of GCC youth view Germany “very favorably,” compared to just 25 percent of non-GCC youth
 
* Both China and India are viewed much more favorably by GCC than non-GCC youth
 
* The US and France are viewed somewhat more favourably by non-GCC youth than by their peers in the GCC
 
10.1 The concept of global citizenship is increasingly important to Arab youth, especially those outside the GCC:
 
* Both non-GCC youth (62 percent) and GCC youth (41 percent) say that the idea of global citizenship is important to them, an increase of 19 percent and 6 percent, respectively
 
* Global citizenship is most important to youth in Iraq (92 percent), Lebanon (84 percent) and Qatar (69 percent)
 
* Youth in Egypt (24 percent), the UAE (25 percent) and Bahrain (26 percent) attach significantly less importance to the concept of global citizenship than they did in 2009
 
* Youth in Bahrain (44 percent) and Saudi Arabia (34 percent) feel most strongly that global citizenship is “not at all important”
 
     
Top 5 Findings of the ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey Update
 
1. IMPORTANCE OF DEMOCRACY IS GREATER THAN EVER – BUT SO IS DESIRE FOR STABILITY
The highest priority for young Arabs remains living in a democratic country, while concerns about stability are also high on the agenda:
 
* When asked to name their single greatest priority, regional youth feel even more strongly about the importance of living in a democratic country, with 92 percent of respondents citing this as very important, up from 77 percent in January 2011
 
* Domestic stability is also very important to 89 percent of respondents, while living without fear of terrorism has increased from 58 percent to 77 percent
 
* Indeed, there is a rise in importance in all issues – especially maintaining close relations with family (up 21 percent), opportunities to excel in their career (up 21 percent), being able to find a job (up 20 percent) and equal rights/opportunities for women (up 20 percent)
 
2. CONCERN ABOUT THE COST OF LIVING, AND CORRUPTION, CONTINUES TO ESCALATE
Regional youth are more concerned than ever about the rising cost of living, while concern about corruption has increased two-fold:
 
* 79 percent of respondents said they were very concerned about the rising cost of living, up from 62 percent in January 2011
 
* The lack of political franchise is also a major concern, cited by 54 percent of respondents vs. just 26 percent in January 2011
 
* Concern about domestic instability/unrest is also very high on the agenda of 72 percent of respondents
 
* Regional youth are also extremely concerned about corruption in government and public life, with 62 percent citing this as very important, compared to just 31 percent in January 2011
 
 
3. INCREASED FRUSTRATION WITH DOMESTIC STATUS QUO
Young people in the region are extremely disillusioned with the status quo, and now firmly believe that their country is moving in the wrong direction:
 
* 66 percent of young people now say that their country of residence in moving in the wrong direction, compared to just 38 percent in January 2011
 
* Just 31 percent of youth feel their country is moving in the right direction, compared to 50 percent in January 2011
 
* Among those who feel their country is moving in the right direction, very few youth in Lebanon (19 percent)  and Iraq (26 percent) agree
 
* Egyptian youth are the most optimistic about the long-term direction of their country, with 51 percent agreeing with this positive sentiment
 
4. SUPPORT OF THE PROTESTS IS HIGH, AND SO IS BELIEF IN THEIR POSITIVE IMPACT
Regional youth strongly support regional protests, especially in Egypt, while support for protests in Yemen is somewhat lower:
 
* 75 percent of all respondents believe that the protests will have a positive impact on the lives of the people in their country
 
* 81 percent of respondents support the protests in Egypt, including 94 percent of Egyptian youth
 
* Just 66 percent of Bahraini youth support the Egyptian protests, and only 51 percent of them support the protests in Yemen
 
* However, 90 percent of Bahraini youth support the protests in their own country
 
* 75 percent of youth support the calls for Qaddafi to step down, and an equal number support the resignation of former President Mubarak
 
* Half of all respondents believe that the protests represent the views of the citizens of their countries
 
* The vast majority of respondents believe that the protests were spurred by a desire for greater democracy
 
* 81 percent of youth in Jordan and 80 percent of youth in Lebanon also feel that the recent protests were caused by foreign influence in the region
 
* Except in Bahrain, where 42 percent of youth say they actively participated in anti-government protests, few regional youth say they took part in such activities
 
5. POLITICAL VIEWS ARE INCREASINGLY LIBERAL AND FORWARD-LOOKING
Young people in the region are now much more liberal in their political views, and are somewhat less attached to traditional values:
 
* 51 percent of regional youth now say they are politically liberal, up from 20 percent in January 2011
 
* Youth in Lebanon are the most liberal, at 72 percent, followed by young people in Iraq/Jordan (67 percent)
 
* Egyptian youth are much more liberal than they were in January 2011, when only 3 percent said they were liberal – but are still, at 26 percent, the least liberal in the region
 
* Youth in Bahrain are likewise much more liberal than they were in January 2011, when only 10% said they were liberal – but are, at 27%, the second-least liberal in the region
 
* While traditional values endure, fewer now say they mean a lot to them, with 71 percent currently agreeing with this sentiment, down from 82 percent in January 2011
 
* The greatest shifts away from tradition have been seen in Iraq (where 58 percent now agree that traditional values are important, down from 94 percent in January 2011) and Lebanon (down from 85 percent to 48 percent)
 
 

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