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Half of Icelandic Youngsters Would Like to Live Abroad

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Half of Icelandic Youngsters Would Like to Live Abroad

Ash Wednesday 2015.

Photo: Sverrir H. Geirmundsson.

A significant majority of Icelandic teenagers would like to live overseas in the future, according to a new research project from the University of Akureyri.

“There was a big change after the financial crisis,” head researcher, University of Akureyri sociology professor Þóroddur Bjarnason told Vísir.

“With the crisis came great changes. Plans for where young people wanted to live did not change much for a long time, but we got very different results after the crash. The draw of the wider world among teenagers seemed to grow massively in the 2011 results, but we weren’t sure if that was a direct consequence of the collapse. So we put the questions out again in 2015 and then started to see the change over a longer period of time.”

Over 50 percent of youngsters polled said they would most like to live overseas in the future, while in 2003 and 2007 that figure was around the 30-35 percent mark.

“The change is even starker when we look at figures of where they believe they actually will be living in the future. In 2015 not much shy of 40 percent say they will most likely live abroad in the future, compared to 18 percent before the crash.”

Þóroddur says a large part of the explanation is simply that young people travel a lot more now and have more links to other countries than they used to: “It is a much more open world and teenagers show more confidence to the outside world. The future depends not on preventing young people moving away, but much more on what opportunities they and others have for moving to the country,” he philosophizes.

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