Survey of youth in MENA region

For the past five years, Asda’a Burson-Marsteller has been asking Arab youth their opinion about many issues (politics, culture, media, etc.). In the most recent survey, they interviewed 3000 people from 15 countries in the MENA region. Unfortunately, Palestinian youth were not included.   More information about the survey is available here.

Young Palestinian men enjoying a BBQ at the beach in Gaza.

Young Palestinian men enjoying a BBQ at the beach in Gaza.

I wonder if my young friends in Gaza would agree with these top ten findings:

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

A clear majority of youth in the Gulf states and countries elsewhere in the Middle East feel their best days are ahead – and most Arab youth in the 15 countries surveyed are hopeful for an improvement in their economic prospects

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

Middle East youth have a greater sense of national identity following the uprisings, reflected in their confidence that the region’s best days lie ahead

3. Fair pay remains the top priority of Arab youth

As in 2012, being paid a fair wage is of greatest importance to young Arabs across the Middle East, while unemployment continues to be seen as one of the region’s gravest challenges

4. Home ownership is increasingly important

Owning one’s own property is considered more important than living in a democracy, but young Arabs are preparing to purchase property later in life and many fear they never will be able to own their own home

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

Anxiety about living costs is evenly split across GCC and non-GCC states, and noticeably up from two years ago

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

Youth in all 15 countries surveyed cited both of these issues among the top two obstacles facing the Arab world

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

Looking across the Middle East and the world, the UAE is the country where most Arab youth would like to live – and still the country they would most like their own nation to emulate

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

When considering foreign relations, Arab youth view France most favourably, followed by Germany and China; favourability towards the US is highest in Oman while the UK is viewed most favourably in Egypt

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

News interest has waned as events of the Arab Spring recede, but Middle East youth continue to rely on TV as their main source of news

10. Social media is becoming increasingly influential

More young Arabs are getting their news from social media while trust in websites and social media as reliable news sources has risen sharply from 2012

The white paper provides the methodology and more insight into these findings.



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