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63% Youth Willing to Relocate Abroad

Willingness to Migrate, Why Nigerians are willing to migrate
Migration Poll Infographics

Abuja, Nigeria. 15th August 2023 – A new public opinion poll conducted by NOIPolls has revealed that 63 percent of adult Nigerians nationwide disclosed they are willing to relocate to other countries if given an opportunity. Interestingly, more youths, respondents within the age bracket 18 – 35 years (73 percent), formed the largest group with a willingness to migrate. In addition, findings revealed the search for greener pasture (60 percent) is the major drive for migration, followed by education (32 percent). In the same vein, 3 percent cited insecurity as the reason why they would like to migrate to foreign countries. These buttresses the revelations made by premium times newspaper, in a publication of October 3, 2022, which reported that unemployment has pushed more people under the poverty line, with youths primarily affected, coupled with heightened insecurity in the country.

Further analysis by geographical locations clearly showed that the South-East zone (74 percent) accounts for the highest proportion of Nigerians willing to migrate to other countries if given the opportunity. This is closely followed by the South-South (70 percent) and South-West zone (63 percent).

More findings revealed that most adult Nigerians (50 percent), believe that Nigerians living abroad have better living conditions. Similarly, (54 percent) are of the opinion that those living in foreign countries are better off in terms of opportunities compared to Nigerians at home. Further analysis shows that a considerable proportion (52 percent) assert that Nigerians living in foreign countries are better off financially.

With regards to recommendations on how the Federal Government can reduce the migration rate, findings revealed that 64 percent want the government to create jobs, 29 percent advised the government to tackle insecurity, and 26 percent proposed the provision of basic amenities. Additionally, 25 percent want the government to reduce inflation, while 14 percent recommended the creation of better working conditions, 11 percent want the government to improve the welfare of citizens and 12 percent suggest improvement of healthcare services, economy, and electricity. However, just a few respondents (1 percent) want the government to open the borders. These are some of the key findings from the Migration Poll conducted in the week commencing 4th of July 2023.

Survey Background

Migration is the “movement of people from one country, place or locality to another’’[1]. Thus, migration itself is as old as time hence the reasons people move notwithstanding. In Nigeria, citizens are leaving the country in their droves. One could quickly tell from the numerous ‘’Japa’’ announcements on social media, particularly on the X app[2].

The recent wave of Nigerians relocating out of the country represents the largest movement of people out of the country since the end of the civil war, over fifty years ago. A cross-section of Nigerians, mostly youth, are scrambling to relocate to some other country where they can find employment, security, and contentment.[3] What is significant is the profile of those who are relocating, they are primarily skilled workers mostly doctors, nurses, IT engineers, university lecturers, and technicians. They also include people who completed their studies abroad and opted to stay back because our country has nothing to offer them regarding jobs, opportunities, or even basic safety.[4] Some of them have been educated in elite universities at home and abroad. This demographic is more devastating for our national developmental prospects. A recent research survey from the PEW Research Centre reveals that about 45% of Nigeria’s adult population plans to relocate to another country within five years. Nigerians are ranked highest among people who desperately want to relocate to some other country.[5]

The Nigerian government appears unperturbed by the outbound migration of its professionals and young people. The number of passports issued by the Nigeria Immigration Service rose 38% between 2020 and 2021. This increased from 767,164 to 1,059,607 passports granted in 2020 and 2021, respectively. This indicates that more people are planning to move out of the country. In terms of policies and actions, the government is not putting anything in place to stem this tide, it rather seems that the government has an alternative view of this mass exit.[6] Against this background, NOIPolls surveyed to feel the pulse of citizens regarding migration in Nigeria and hereby presents its findings.

Survey Findings

The first question sought to measure the opinion of adult Nigerians on the trend of migration in the last 5 years, thus posing the question ‘Do you have any family member that has relocated to another country in the last 2 years or between 3 – 5 years?’. Findings revealed a larger proportion of respondents (73 percent) disclosed that they do not have any family member that has relocated out of the country within the last five years. However, 27 percent of the respondents answered in the affirmative. The South-east zone has the highest number of respondents (38 percent) who made this assertion.

Family members who have migrated abroad, Year(s) of Migration
Relative who have Relocated Abroad

Interestingly, respondents who disclosed having family members that have relocated to other countries within the last 5 years were further probed. Findings revealed the majority (60 percent) attributed the search for greener pastures as the reason why their family member relocated. This implies there are limited or no opportunities for Nigerians to thrive in the country. Other reasons mentioned include educational purpose (32 percent), work/business (3 percent), and insecurity (3 percent) amongst others. It was striking to note some Nigerians relocated because of marriage and pleasure (1 percent apiece).

Reasons for Migration Abroad
Reasons for Migration

Subsequently, respondents were further probed to know the type of work their family members were doing before they relocated abroad. The poll result showed that the majority of those who relocated (18 percent) are unemployed. This is followed by those who mentioned business (13 percent) and artisans (13 percent). Other mentions include student, public sector/civil service, and medical personnel (9 percent) respectively, financial sector (8 percent), and self-employed (7 percent).

Infographic showing occupation before migrating abroad
Occupation before Migration

In addition, the survey sought to know the type of jobs Nigerians who relocated within the last five years are doing in their new country of residence. Poll results clearly showed that most Nigerians (13 percent) are doing medical jobs abroad, while (10 percent) do menial jobs. Interestingly, a larger proportion of respondents interviewed (29 percent) either do not know or refused to disclose the type of job their family member(s) who relocated abroad.

Medical Job, Menial Job, Lecturing, Business
Occupation at Country of Residence

Moreover, when asked if they think Nigerians who relocated to foreign/other countries are better off, the same or worse off in terms of living conditions, opportunities, financial stability and social interactions when compared to home, survey findings show half of the respondents polled (50 percent) believe Nigerians living abroad have better “Living Conditions” as against (6 percent) who think the living conditions are same and (25 percent) who believe it is worse off. However, most Nigerians (54 percent) are of the opinion those living in foreign countries are better off in terms of “Opportunities” compared to Nigeria. Respondents who think the opportunities are the same are (5 percent), while 24 percent believe they are worse off.

Similarly, findings showed that a considerable proportion (52 percent) asserted that Nigerians living in foreign countries are better off “Financially”, 7 percent believe there is no difference and 23 percent claim they are worse off. On “Social Interactions”, 42 percent of respondents interviewed asserted that Nigerians abroad are better off, 8 percent believe they are the same as opposed to 30 percent who think they are worse off compared to those in Nigeria.

Picture showing if Nigerians Living conditions, opportunities, financial stability are better off.
Comparing Living Conditions

Furthermore, it was intriguing to see majority of Nigerians (63 percent) disclosed they are willing to relocate to another country if given the opportunity. However, 32 percent stated otherwise. Analysis on geopolitical zones shows the South-East Zone (74 percent) accounts for the highest proportion of Nigerians who expressed willingness to migrate to other countries if given the opportunity. This is closely followed by South-South zone (70 percent) and South-West zone (63 percent). Interestingly, respondents within the age bracket 18 – 35yrs (73 percent), mostly youths, form the largest opinion on willingness to migrate.

On the contrary, respondents who opined they are not willing to relocate if the opportunity comes are from North-Central (40 percent), North-West (38 percent) and North-East zone (35 percent). Respondents with this opinion were the elderly, within the age category of 61 and above (63 percent).

Chart showing Nigerians willingness to  relocate.
Willingness to Migrate to another Country

For respondents who disclosed they are willing to migrate to foreign countries if given the opportunity were probed for reasons, 22 percent disclosed that they would like to leave to get a better education, just to leave Nigeria (19 percent), while 13 percent disclosed to seek better job opportunities. Others include, they feel more secure relocating to other countries (12 percent).

On the flip side, Nigerians who stated they will not be willing to relocate cited financial constraints (45 percent) as their reason. While 32 percent see their age as a barrier, 7 percent believe that there is no place like home, preference to settle in Nigeria, and love for the country (6 percent) respectively amongst others mentioned.

Better Education, Job Opportunities, Leave Nigeria, No finance to Relocate, No place like home.
Reasons "For" and "Not" willing to Migrate

Recommendation on how the Federal Government can reduce the rate of migration, majority of Nigerians (64 percent) suggested creating job opportunities, tackling insecurity (29 percent), provision of basic amenities (26 percent). Additionally, 25 percent proposed reducing inflation, creating better working conditions (14 percent) and improving the welfare of the people (11 percent) amongst others. Worthy of note, (1 percent) want the government to open the nation’s borders that are closed with other countries.

Job Opportunities, Tackle Insecurity, Provide Basic Amenities
Ways to curb level of Migration


In conclusion, results show that (27 percent) of Nigerians have family members who have relocated to foreign countries in the last five years, with 60 percent revealing their family members left in search for greener pastures abroad. It is also worthy of note that 18 percent of Nigerians reported that their family members were unemployed before they left the country. Additionally, 63 percent of Nigerians disclosed they will be willing to relocate if an opportunity comes citing the need for better education (22 percent) and security (12 percent) as top reasons.

To stem the tide of migration, majority of Nigerians suggest the government should create jobs (64 percent), tackle insecurity (29 percent), provide basic amenities (26 percent). Others want the government to reduce inflation (25 percent), create better working conditions (14 percent), improve the welfare of citizens (11 percent) as well as improving healthcare services, economy, and electricity (4 percent each).

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in the week commencing 4th of July 2023. It involved telephone interviews of a proportionate nationwide sample of 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geo-political regions and 36 states and the FCT of the country. Interviews were conducted in 5 languages – Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Pidgin English, and English. Although we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained were statistically precise – within a margin of error of plus or minus 4.65%; we recognize that the exclusive use of telephone polling has its limitation of excluding non-phone-owning Nigerians. Nonetheless, with the country’s tele density put over 100 per cent by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), we consider our telephone polling approach appropriate. Also, given the rigorous scientific process of randomization and stratification applied, we can confidently stand by the validity of our methodology and approach. NOIPolls Limited, No. 1 for country-specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at


This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as authors whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited, or published. NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect the views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or facts, or any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken because of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions, or views herein constitute a judgment as of the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls' current findings and/or thinking.

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[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

1 Comment

Asking if people would relocate, if given the opportunity, is a no-brainer. That's a given even without the benefit of a pinch of salt. The country is just about going to hell in a handbasket, at the same time those who have successfully scraped up their savings and spent it all to migrate are stranded without work abroad. It is just mindboggling.

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