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Majority of young people considering moving abroad for better quality of life

Over eight in ten are also ‘fearful for the future’.

More than 7 in 10 young people are considering moving abroad.
More than 7 in 10 young people are considering moving abroad.
Image: Shutterstock

MORE THAN SEVEN in ten young people aged 18-24 are considering moving abroad because they think they would enjoy a better quality of life elsewhere. 

That’s according to research carried out by RED C on behalf of the National Youth Council of Ireland.

NYCI has expressed concern at the findings of the survey, which were published today. 

1,253 respondents aged 18 and over, spread across all regions of the Republic of Ireland, took part in the survey, of which 151 were aged 18-24 – polling took place from August 19-24.

The representative body for voluntary youth organisations in Ireland said it shows “the severe impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on young people in Ireland” and it has issued a call “for action from the Government to prevent young people from moving abroad”.

Key Findings

Among those surveyed aged 18-24, eight in ten said that they are fearful for the future and half reported worse mental health in light of the rising cost-of-living crisis.

More than four in ten responded that they are not as happy as they were six months ago, close to half said they are struggling to make ends meet, and more than a quarter said their experience with housing in the past six months is worse.

Paul Gordon is the Director of Policy and Advocacy at National Youth Council of Ireland.

He said that while the cost-of-living crisis is affecting all of society, “it is impacting young people in a different way”. 

Commenting on some of the key findings, he added: “They are more likely to report mental health difficulties and challenges with accommodation, and to spend a greater portion of their income on education and public transport expenses.

“Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority feel a better quality-of-life can be achieved elsewhere. We’re concerned that unless young voices are heard in this Budget, many will choose to leave.”

Pre-Budget Submission

The NYCI says “targeted action is needed from government” and as part of its pre-Budget submission, the body has called on the Government to:

  • Reduce registration fees for those in college, higher education, or on apprenticeships;
  • Raise the national minimum wage for under-20s to the same level as over-20s;
  • Bring the rate of Jobseekers’ Allowance for under-25s in line with that of those over 25;
  • Extend the Young Adult travel card to more young people; and
  • Increase government investment in youth work services in local communities.

Paul Gordon said “there is strong support across all age groups for our proposals” and called on the government “to heed the message that young people and the wider public are sending in this research”.

He added that “our leaders need to show young people that they are a valued part of society, and that they not left out of the conversation on the cost-of-living.”

‘We have no future here’

A 24-year-old female from Ulster/Connacht who was surveyed said she and the majority of her friends have plans to leave Ireland by the end of the year.

Elsewhere, a 20-year-old female from Dublin said: “I think this crisis is making people my age think we have no future here and that they should move abroad.” 

Meanwhile, a 24-year-old female also from Dublin worried that she is “never going to be able to buy a house”.

She said she has worked since she was 16 and has saved €30,000, but it is still not enough to buy a house near where she lives.

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