Seven out of 10 young Arabs describe themselves as global citizens, regardless of their ethnicity, nationality or religious background, according to a study just released. The second annual Arab Youth Survey, conducted by the Dubai-based public relations firm Asda’a Burson-Marsteller, questioned 2,000 Arab national and expatriate youth, aged 18 to 24, in nine countries across the Middle East: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.
Respondents from all across the Middle East said greater democracy, affordable housing, more job prospects and fair wages, better infrastructure, access to the best universities and the desire to live in a safe neighbourhood were most important to them. “More than two-thirds of respondents were very concerned about the rising cost of living ,” said Karen Hughes of Burson-Marsteller.
The ten key findings of the report are:
- A growing number of Arab youth are adopting modern values as digital technology reshapes behaviour and attitudes. However, family, friends, parents and religion still have the most influence on youngsters and their outlook on life.
- Arab youth are confident in their governments’ ability to deal with a wide range of issues including living standards, economic stability and unemployment but the positive momentum felt during the Arab Spring is declining.
- For the fourth year running, Arab youth cite the rising cost of living as their biggest concern, closely followed by anxiety about unemployment, which has been steadily rising year-on-year.
- The majority of Arab youth believe that civil unrest is the biggest obstacle facing
the Middle East and will define the region’s ability to thrive in the future.
- More Arab youth are likely to start a business than in previous generations. Though the government sector remains a popular choice, an increasing number of young Arabs would like to work in the private sector.
- For the third year running, the UAE remains the most popular country to live in and the country Arab youth would most like their country to emulate.
- When asked to think about their country’s biggest ally, Arab youth are choosing their GCC neighbours over traditional western countries as Gulf governments’ political weight grows in prominence.
- Concern about obesity and diabetes is rising but many young Arabs believe that healthcare in their country has not improved in the last 12 months.
- Nearly 70% of young Arabs believe they are entitled to subsidised utilities and petrol, and while concern about climate change is rising, it ranks significantly behind other issues in terms of priority.
- Television remains the most dominant source of information for the sixth consecutive year but a growing number of Arab youth are going online to get their news.
You can download a copy of the report from the website of Asda’a Burson-Marsteller here
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photo courtesy of The National (UAE)