Freedom of movement means a person has the right to travel from place to place within the territory of a country, as well as to leave a country and/or return to it as desired. Free movement is a core human right guaranteed by various international treaties.
But having the right to leave doesn’t often mean people are going to do it. In fact, in some countries more than half of young residents – those between 15 and 29 years of age – want to leave but, for a variety of reasons, stay home. Why people stay varies. Some remain in their home countries because of involuntary immobility – they simply don’t have the resources to migrate. This often applies to countries going through an economic crisis, like Venezuela. (These are the most corrupt countries in the world.)
Residents of some troubled nations, young and otherwise, often want to relocate to other countries in search of work or better economic opportunities. Others move to escape conflict, persecution, or human rights violations.
To identify the countries where the most young people want to leave, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the Potential Net Migration Index from the analytics and international polling company Gallup. The index measures how much a country’s population would change if everyone who wanted to move to another country actually were able to do so. In addition to the overall percentage, the index breaks out the potential population change for 15-to 29-year-olds. Population statistics for 2011 and 2021 are from the World Bank. (These are the countries on track to shrink the most this century.)