The 2019 ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey disclosed its results on Sunday, providing governments, the private sector, and civil society with insights into the concerns, hopes, and aspirations of Arab youth.
This year survey is the 11th annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey, namely “A Call for Reform,” giving an overview of the Arab youth opinions on 10 topics.
The 10 topics that the survey dug into include religion; the government’s role; education; foreign relations; conflicts; model nations; drug use; mental health; e-commerce, and media consumption.
The ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey was launched in 2008, and is considered as the largest survey of its kind of the Middle East.
This year’s survey included youth from 15 Arab countries, which are Bahrain; Kuwait; Oman; Saudi Arabia; the UAE; Algeria; Egypt; Libya; Morocco; Tunisia; Jordan; Iraq; Lebanon; the Palestinian Territories, and Yemen.
Daily News Egypt investigated further into the results of the survey and classified them into points.
Young Arabs think religious institutions need to be reformed
Regarding religion, the survey found out that 79% of young Arabs believe that the Arab world needs to reform its religious institutions, meanwhile 66% think that religion plays too big of a role in the Middle East.
“Half of young Arabs say religious values are holding the region back,” according to the results of the Arab Youth survey.
At the same time, many say religion is losing its influence, particularly outside the GCC countries.
As the region faces economic concerns, Arab youth feel entitled to government support
The rising cost of living, unemployment, and the threat of terrorism are, for the third year in row, considered the top three concerns facing the youth in the Middle East, according to 2019 Arab Youth Survey.
The survey results explained that in 2019, 56% of young Arabs believe that the biggest obstacle is the rising cost of living, while 45% think that the largest obstacle is the unemployment rate, with 26% of youth believing that the threat of terrorism is the vital concern facing youth in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, the survey found that two in three of the young Arabs say their countries are not doing enough to help young families.
Likewise, the majority of Arab youth become more aware that it is the government’s responsibility to provide safety, education, healthcare, energy subsidies, jobs, and housing to all citizens.
Three in four young Arabs are unhappy with the quality of education in their country
Talking in depth about the education file, unfortunately the findings of the survey let on that 78% of young Arabs across the region are concerned about the quality of education they receive in their countries.
Unfortunately, 49% of Arab youth in the MENA region feel their country’s education system does not prepare them for future jobs.
Regrettably, merely one in three young Arabs would prefer to pursue higher education in their own country, with 53% wanting to attend college or university in the West and only 32% prefer to continue their higher education in their countries.
Death of Jamal Khashoggi will have no long-term negative impact on Saudi Arabia’s image abroad
Concerning foreign relations, the survey discovered that 37% of Arab youth think that Saudi Arabia is increasing its influence on the Arab world more than any other Arab country, and 27% think the UAE is the most influential Arab country, while 11% believe Egypt to be the most influential country among Arab countries.
This led the survey to ask the youth about the impact of the death of Jamal Khashoggi on Saudi Arabia’s image abroad, where it discovered that the majority of young Arabs think that the death will have no long-term negative impact on Saudi Arabia’s foreign image.
In that context, the survey explained how Saudi Arabia is perceived internationally, explaining that 16% think that the murder of Jamal Khashoggi has no real negative impact on Saudi Arabia’s image abroad, while 44% believe that it has a temporary negative impact, at the same time 35% believe that it has a long-term negative impact.
Furthermore, the survey results discussed how Saudi Arabia is perceived in the Arab world, stating that 20% think that murder of Jamal Khashoggi has no real negative impact on Saudi Arabia’s image abroad, while 40% believe that it has a temporary negative impact, at the same time 35% believe that it has a long-term negative impact.
It is time to put an end to regional conflicts
Young Arabs view ongoing geopolitical conflicts within the region among the top obstacles facing the Middle East, as according to the results of the survey 35% of young Arabs believe that the lack of Arab unity is the biggest obstacle facing the Middle East, while 28% think that Palestinian-Israeli conflict is one of the biggest obstacle, and 28% think thank the civil war in Syria is the top obstacle, while 26% think that the biggest obstacle is the threat of terrorism.
73% of young Arabs think Syria civil war should end
The survey talked in depth about the Syrian civil war and took the opinions of young Arabs on the most likely scenarios, revealing that 73% say that the war should end regardless of whether Bashar Al-Assad stays in power or not, while 26% of them think that the war should not end until the Syrian people can freely elect their leaders.
Two in five young Arabs would like to live in the UAE
Concerning model nations, the Arab youth’s top country to live in and to emulate continued for the eighth year running to be the UAE, in which 44% of young Arabs said that they prefer to live in, while 22% preferred Canada, and 21% said that they preferred to live in United States.
The survey findings uncovered that young Arabs are drawn to the UAE by job opportunities and salary packages, as well as safety and security.
A majority of young Arabs say drug use is on the rise
Digging further into the topic of drug use, unfortunately, the findings disclosed that 57% of young Arabs said that drugs are easy to get in their countries, and drug use is on the rise.
By asking young Arabs about the reasons why young people start using drugs, the results of the survey revealed that Arab youth view peer pressure as the top driver of drug use; many also point to stress relief and boredom.
Regarding the best ways to combat drug use, young Arabs thought that stricter laws, better law enforcement, and education are viewed as the best results.
Mental health illness is a sigma
Concerning mental health, the survey results stated that mental health issues impact many young Arabs, yet access to quality medical care is scarce.
It further showed that one-third of young Arabs stated that they know someone suffering from mental health issues.
Regrettably, 54% complained about that the quality medical care for mental health issues and that it is difficult to access in their country.
Shamefully, half of Arab youth say there is a stigma around seeking medical care for mental health issues.
The biggest sources of stress in the Arab youths’ daily lives, according to the survey, disclosed that personal relationships and difficult financial situations are the top sources of stress in the North Africa.
Young Arabs are driving the region’s e-commerce boom
The findings of the survey imparted that young Arabs are driving the region’s e-commerce boom.
The results unveiled that the number of young Arabs shopping online has significantly spiked over the past year, stating that in 2019 ,71% of youth stated that they shop online, up from only 53% in 2018.
“Clothing, meals, and electronics are the key drivers of e-commerce among young Arabs,” according to the survey results.
When shopping online, 35% of Arab youth in North Africa stated that they prefer to use Credit/debit/pre-paid cards.
Social media is more trustworthy than traditional media
The survey results found out that among Arab youth, social media is more popular and seen as more trustworthy than traditional media.
Over the past five years, social media has become the dominant source for news among Arab youth, while online news portals are now on par with TV.
The findings uncovered the development of the usage and trust of social media throughout the past five years, noting that 80% of young Arabs stated that they get their news from social media in 2019 compared to only 25% in 2015.
Meanwhile, 66% of young Arabs get their news from television, up from 60% in 2015, also 61% of Arab youth stated that they get their news from online news sources in 2019, up from 40% in 2015.
Unfortunately, in 2019, 42% of youth get their news from their friends and family, compared to only 29% on 2015.
In terms of the newspapers, 27% of youth get their news from them in 2019, up from 22% in 2015.
Furthermore, in terms of radios, 19% of young Arabs get their news from them, versus 10% in 2015.
Concerning magazines, 9% of youth get their news from them, compared to 8% in 2015.
The survey findings stated that more young Arabs get their daily news from Facebook or online portals rather than TV news channels.
“34% of Arab youth get their daily news from TV news channels, 50% of them get their daily news from Facebook, while 39% get their daily news from online portals, with only 4% getting their daily news from newspapers,” the results of the survey further explained.
“Nine in ten young Arabs use at least one of the major social media channels daily,” according to the survey results.