I’ve found some interesting Gallup polls around the immigration issue which we have been discussing here.
First, one that shows that 700 Million Worldwide Desire to Migrate Permanently. Looking at the map in the article, you see that Africa and the Middle East are the areas most interested, which seems to confirm that money and war are the main motivators.
But I decided to dig a bit deeper, and found a series of 3 other Gallup polls around migration in Latin America:
First one called One in Four Latin Americans Wishes to Emigrate, which shows the percentage of population that want to migrate (Brazil is second to last, but still has a 20% number which sounds high to me) and it confirms that the US is the most common destination (33%) but Spain does show first for a few countries.
The next one is more interesting: Latin Americans’ Motives for Migration. Here, you see that even though poverty and unemployment are strong factors behind immigration, quality of life and opportunity seem to be much more important.
Quoting the article:
“Furthermore, across the 20 countries studied, Latin Americans who say they do not have a job are no more likely than those who do have a job to say they would emigrate — 23% of the former do so, versus 26% of employed respondents. In countries with the region’s largest economies — including Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Venezuela — employed residents are at least as likely as those who are unemployed to say they’d emigrate given the opportunity.
It seems that job satisfaction in Latin America matters more than job availability in terms of driving migration intent. A follow-up question asking employed respondents whether they are satisfied with their current jobs produces an important distinction: 39% of those who are dissatisfied would like to emigrate, versus 24% of those who are satisfied.
Further, there is data to suggest the search for better jobs and opportunities to achieve more in life, rather than desperation and an inability to “make it” in their home countries, leads many Latin Americans to want to emigrate.”
The final piece, called Ambition and Emigration Among Latin Americans, confirms that ambition and optimism seem to be the main driving factors behind most Latin American immigrants. People who want to start their own businesses or have ideas for new products also tend to migrate more. Other important factors shown here are lack of confidence in the stability of commercial rules and laws in their home country.
Like I mentioned many times before, for me personally the main motivation to leave was the chaos. I could not stand the violence (and maybe even more important, the constant threat of violence) and the culture. But, I can definitely see why highly productive and ambitious people want to leave. I have evolved professionally here in ways I never thought I would, and I think this was possible not only because I applied myself but also because of the environment here, which tend to push people to give their best all the time.
So Latin America might not be as bad as Africa or the Middle East, but the people there still have plenty of reasons to try and get out.