Bank of Greece: 427,000 young educated Greeks left the country since 2008

Greek Reporter

DW — Greece’s young professionals and graduates are escaping economic hardship at a rate of over 100,000 per year, according to the Bank of Greece. They have gone to Germany, Britain and the United Arab Emirates.

According to BoG figures  Greece ranks third – after Cyprus and Spain – in terms of the proportion of young people leaving their home country, prompted by youth unemployment rates approaching 50 percent. Overall jobless rates are between 20 and 25 percent.

The exodus began “gradually” in 2008; it exceeded 100,000 in 2013 and accelerated further in 2014 and 2015.

“The current exodus is being led by young professionals seeking their fortunes in Germany, the UK and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the report added.

Long migration history

Greece has a centuries’ old history of emigration that has created a Greek “Diaspora” of at least three million around the world in locations as far afield as Australia and Brazil.

Mainly unskilled workers and farmers formed two previous, modern age waves of migration.

In the first exodus, between 1903 and 1917, Greeks traveled chiefly to the USA, Australia, Canada, Brazil and southeastern Africa, according to the report, which noted that seven in 10 were aged between 15 and 44 and fewer than two in 10 were women.

In the second wave, in 1960-72, seven out of 10 were young people aged 20-34, with five in 10 declaring themselves as manual workers. Six out of 10 traveled to Germany or Belgium to work in factories.

Greece ranks fourth among the 28 EU member nations in terms of overall  emigration after Cyprus, Ireland and Lithuania, in relation to each nation’s work force.

On Friday, the EU’s Eurostat statistics agency said 21 million people were out of work in the 28-nation bloc, of whom 4.2 million were under the age of 25.

In percentage terms, unemployment EU-wide and between the ages of 15 and 74 years had remained unchanged at 8.6 percent. Youth rates, however, were far higher.

One of the lowest jobless rates for all age groups was in powerhouse Germany, at 4.2 percent. Last year, net emigration into Germany amounted to 382,000, with the majority from eastern EU member nations, such as Poland and Romania.

Greek daily Kathimerini also reports a new survey by the National Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), according to which four in 10 Greeks struggle to pay their mortgage or rent and their bills, while more than half of households lack the funds to ensure that they can eat a nutritious meal every other day.

Is there any wonder that so many young educated Greeks decide to leave?