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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



Over 50 percent of Bosnian youth interested in leaving the country

January 22, 2023

Unemployment is one of the most pressing problems in Bosnia where youth unemployment has reached almost 40 percent. According to a recent survey, this inability to find employment drives the young population to move out of BiH constantly.

According to The Economist magazine, Bosnia and Herzegovina is at the top of the list with the largest brain drain, and the fact that up to 51.3 percent of young people are interested in going abroad is worrying. The youth unemployment rate in the country is four times higher than in the countries of the European Union.

There is also the issue of an inadequate education system that has not been modernized, as well as low incomes.

Also, the data indicate that the most common reasons for leaving are the unstable political situation and the belief in a greater possibility of success abroad. BiH also has no single strategy that would specify the priorities for improving the living conditions of young people in order for the state to keep them in the country.

When it comes to youth employment (people aged 15 – 24), the data from the BiH Statistics Agency show that the youth unemployment rate is 38.3 percent. Before the pandemic, the unemployment rate had a constant and stable downward trend.

The Institute for Youth Development KULT conducted a survey on the position of youth in Bosnia which clearly showed that they are no longer leaving BiH only due to economic conditions, but also due to a generally poor standard of living and insecurity for their family in terms of a stable social environment in which they can build a family. They also stated the lack of concrete social progress in various areas and retrograde political processes as additional reasons for departure.

“Successful, ambitious, employed young people who want to build their careers, family and life in better social conditions are leaving the country more and more often, and they very often find themselves in some of the more developed countries,” KULT said.

The fact that 40 percent of the youth included in the survey stated that a member of their immediate family left Bosnia in the last seven years is also worrying, and that departures most often take place in non-urban areas.

Also, the results show that over 50 percent of those surveyed have an interest in leaving BiH, while 12.1 percent of them have already taken concrete steps in that direction.

According to the preliminary results of that survey, 50 percent of youth are willing to start their own business, but they say that they lack the opportunity to do so, while 13 percent of them have undertaken certain activities to start their own business or have already started a business.

The survey also showed that over 65 percent of young people live in households with their parents, and 44.7 percent of them cannot contribute to the household budget.

Source:  https://n1info.ba/english/news/over-50-percent-of-bosnian-youth-interested-in-leaving-the-country/

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