Findings from the latest survey covering Arab youth has revealed they are more confident about the future ahead and feel a greater sense of national identity following the Arab Spring.
The results were part of the fifth annual Arab Youth Survey, conducted by local public relations firm Asda’s Burson-Marsteller. The survey was based on 3,000 Arab youths, aged 18-24 from across the Middle East and North Africa.
About three-quarters of Arab youths concurred with the survey statement; ‘Our best days are ahead of us.‘ Further, an estimated 58 percent of the respondents expressed satisfaction about the direction in which their country was heading. Even though the Arab Spring disrupted political and economic life in the region, 55 per cent were happy with their national economy.
Reacting to the survey findings, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum tweeted that he “was also delighted to read that 74 percent of Arab youth are optimistic about the future. Such optimism will make a better tomorrow for all.” The results may be surprising to international observers, who might have expected a decline in public sentiment following the Arab Spring.
Since the Arab Spring, about 87 percent of youth felt prouder about their national identity and had a deeper connection to their roots. Around 67 percent of the polled youth also thought they were ‘better off’ following the protests across the region. With greater sense of national pride, the youth are confident about taking charge and reshaping the future of this region. The desire to bring change is likely to pose significant challenges and opportunities to the leadership in these countries.
While 82 percent of the respondents called ‘fair wage’ as a priority, 62 percent of the Arab youth felt that the rising cost of living in the region was a major concern to them. The UAE was voted as the most popular Arab country with 31 percent polled choosing it as their first choice if they could live anywhere in the world. Other popular choices included France, the US and Turkey.
- Majority of Arab youth believe that “our best days are ahead of us”
- Arab youth have more national pride since the Arab Spring
- Fair pay remains the top priority of Arab youth
- Home ownership is increasingly important
- Rising living costs continue to the the top concern among Middle East youth
- Civil unrest and lack of democracy are the biggest barriers facing the region
- The UAE continues to be seen as a model nation
- Among nations outside MENA, France viewed most favourably by Arab youth
- News consumption is falling and newspaper readership is hardest hit
- Social media is becoming increasingly influential