A new survey from KAPPA Research in Athens involving 3,000 young Greeks who are living in Greece (2,007 people) and in 34 countries abroad (1,033 people), has revealed their views on immigration, Greece’s political system and the economic crisis after eight years of austerity measures.
A similar survey was conducted in 2010, just one month after Greece’s application of the first Memorandum, allowing for an interesting comparison in the trending opinions amongst the younger generation.
Disappointment in Greece, calmness in foreign lands
The survey revealed that the main feeling among young people that live in Greece in 2018 is disappointment at 34 per cent. Despite this however, it is an improvement on 2010 when the figure stood at 43 per cent. On the contrary, young Greek immigrants claimed to mostly feel calm (38 per cent), while only eight per cent of them feel disappointment.
Almost the same percentage of Greek residents (23 per cent) and Greek immigrants (22 per cent) stated that they mostly feel fatigue during this period of their lives, which marks an increase of seven per cent after eight years of austerity.
Among Greek residents, a significant decrease was observed in those who experience fear from 16 per cent in 2010 to six per cent in 2018. However, only three per cent of young immigrants stated fear as the sovereign emotion in their lives.
Less pessimism for the future
When asked which word best characterises the future of Greece, the most common answer was “stagnation” among 32 per cent of young Greek residents and 37 per cent of young Greek immigrants. A significant decline was observed in the word “crisis” however, from 46 per cent in 2010 to 29 per cent in 2018, and 32 per cent among immigrants. At the same time, “hope” boosted from 15 per cent in 2010 to 23 per cent in 2018, and 20 per cent among immigrants.
Generally, when asked if they have faith in Greece, 57 per cent of its residents responded “yes” or “probably yes” – a significant rise compared to 36 per cent in 2010 – while 40 per cent of young Greek immigrants agreed with them. Finally, 38 per cent of Greek residents and 37 per cent of young immigrants believe today that the worst part of the crisis has already passed.
Less people want to leave Greece
In the survey conducted in 2010, a shocking 74 per cent stated that they would leave Greece if they had the chance. Eight years later, and after hundreds of thousands of Greeks in fact migrated abroad, only 39 per cent of those left behind said they would still consider leaving, while 50 per cent insist they wouldn’t.
The most crucial motives for young people leaving Greece seems to be based on a better quality of life (56 per cent), followed by a better career (43 per cent), meritocracy (30 per cent), higher quality state services (22 per cent), and continuing their studies (15 per cent).
On the contrary, those who prefer to stay put in Greece said they would not be able to live away from their home, family and friends (59 per cent), they have no interest in living abroad (50 per cent) and they could not stand to live in another climate (18 per cent).
Foreign lands and nostalgia
The young Greeks that now live abroad said that they really miss their family (60 per cent), their friends (37 per cent), and the Greek weather (26 per cent). Most of them stated that they often feel like they are missing out on important moments with their loved ones (69 per cent) and often feel nostalgic (53 per cent), despite 63 per cent of them visiting Greece two or more times per year.
As the survey suggests, the main reasons for migrating were the lack of meritocracy in Greece (40 per cent), the general attitude (38 per cent), and corruption (33 per cent).
As for the most important incentives to return home, a job with corresponding earnings and prospects ranked highest at 49 per cent followed closely by an improved economy (44 per cent), the need to be close to family and friends (38 per cent), and the climate/natural environment of Greece (24 per cent). Only 20 per cent of migrants said they did not intend to return.
Meanwhile, 43 per cent of those working abroad revealed that they provide financial assistance to their families in Greece, 38 per cent said they do not maintain economic relations, while only five per cent receive help from Greece without contributing.
Political system and vote
Irrespective of their place of residence, young Greeks do not trust Greece’s political parties in 2018, even though the situation has improved since 2010.
It is indicative that 95 per cent of young Greek immigrants (and 92 per cent of Greek residents) believe there is still a lot of corruption in the country’s public life, and 90 per cent of them (85 per cent of Greek residents) believe that the parties are only interested in receiving votes rather than representing the views of Greek citizens. As for what they think of the Greek state, corruption, lack of meritocracy, spoils, and a huge waste of money are the most popular answers.
The majority of those surveyed (52 per cent of immigrants and 40 per cent of Greek residents) believe that no political party represents the country’s youth, while in 2010 72 per cent believed the same. Among the political parties, Syriza is ahead (19 per cent of Greek residents and 16 per cent of immigrants), followed by New Democracy (13 per cent of Greek residents and 10 per cent of immigrants).
An overwhelming percentage of Greek immigrants supports the right to vote remotely in the Greek elections (87 per cent). Among them, 53 per cent prefer to vote in person at embassies or consulates, while 40 per cent are in favour of remote voting via mail. Moreover, 41 per cent of young Greek immigrants say they have never returned to Greece to vote in national, European or local elections until today, when only 14 per cent were present in every election since migrating.
On a final note, 52 per cent of young Greeks that live abroad would support a party formed by Greek immigrants, which would represent the interests and views of those who recently left Greece.