Your Middle East
Last updated: 16 April, 2013

Arab youth see a brighter future

The Middle East’s more than 200-million strong youth population believe that their best days are yet to come.

According to ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller’s Arab Youth Survey, 74 per cent of Arab men and women in the ages 18-24 expressed optimism about the future, saying “our best days are ahead of us”. More than half believes that their country is heading in the right direction.

The survey, which was conducted through 3,000 face-to-face interviews in 15 Arab countries by international polling firm Penn Schoen Berland also showed that the Arab Spring has instilled pride among the region’s young people. Almost nine in ten said they feel more proud to be an Arab after the uprisings and around two thirds claim to be better off now than before the revolutions.

“Despite the negative media headlines attributed to the region, Arab youth retain a strong sense of hope for the future and are determined to achieve a better life for themselves and their families,” said Joseph Ghossoub, Chairman and CEO of the MENACOM Group in a statement.

Being paid a fair wage and owning a home are the two top priorities for young Arabs, who consider rising living costs as their main concern while “civil unrest” and “lack of democracy” are identified as the main obstacles in the way of the MENA region’s development. “Lack of Arab unity”, the “Palestinian-Israeli conflict” and “lack of political direction” are other barriers.

“The issues identified by the Arab Youth Survey are persistent and deep-rooted and require the ongoing attention of decision makers across the MENA region,” continued Ghossoub.

The United Arab Emirates is cited as the preferred country to live in by a third of the Arab youth, followed by France at 18% and the United States and Turkey, both at 16%.

Top findings in the survey

1. Majority of Arab youth believe that “our best days are ahead of us”

2. Arab youth have more national pride since the Arab Spring

3. Fair pay remains the top priority of Arab youth

4. Home ownership is increasingly important

5. Rising living costs continues to be the top concern among Middle East youth

6. Civil unrest and lack of democracy are the biggest barriers facing the region

7. The UAE continues to be seen as a model nation

8. Among nations outside MENA, France viewed most favourably by Arab youth

9. News consumption is falling and newspaper readership is hardest hit

10. Social media is becoming increasingly influential

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