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Jamaica ranks second on human flight and brain drain index


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Jamaica has been ranked at second place out of 177 countries on the 2022 edition of the human flight and brain drain index.

The ranking, which is compiled by business and economics website the, assesses “the economic impact of human displacement (for economic or political reasons) and the consequences this may have on a country’s development”.

The higher the index, the greater the human displacement, Global Economy’s website said.

Jamaica has a human flight and brain drain index score of 9.1, with Samoa topping the list with a perfect score of 10.

Of note, Global Economy said it arrived at its index indicator for each country by examining available data between 2007 and 2022 from a wide range of sources, including national authorities, the World Bank, United Nations (UN), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“For that indicator, we provide data for Jamaica from 2007 to 2022. The average value for Jamaica during that period was 7.66 index points with a minimum of 6.3 index points in 2009 and a maximum of 9.1 index points in 2022,” the website said.

“The latest value from 2022 is 9.1 index points. For comparison, the world average in 2022 based on 177 countries is 5.21 index points,” it added.

Elsewhere on the index, Palestine placed third with a score of 8.8, while Micronesia and Somalia rounded out the top five with a similar score of 8.7 index points.

Haiti and Guyana were the only other Caribbean nations in the top 10, being ranked in ninth and tenth place, respectively. Haiti had a score of 8.2 index points, while Guyana received 8.1. 

Australia was the least country in the world affected by brain drain, receiving the lowest score of 0.4. 

The Global Economy’s human flight and brain drain indicator also ranked Sweden (0.6), Norway (0.7), and Canada (0.8) as some of the other countries least impacted by migration or human displacement caused by economic and/or political reasons. 

Locally, Prime Minister Andrew Holness had recently weighed in on the issue of migration by suggesting that it has impacted the country negatively, with numerous members of the middle class migrating.

Additionally, he said young people are increasingly frustrated by the lack of opportunities and proper housing in Jamaica and are eyeing migration to developed countries.

Teachers, for example, are said to be leaving the island due to the very reasons the prime minister has mentioned, according to several stakeholders in the education sector.

“Somehow they [young persons] look at other countries, they see what is happening in other countries, and they say, ‘Why can’t it happen here? Why do we have all the problems that we have?’ 

“It is infuriating to many of them, and when we talk to them, particularly the millennials, they just want to leave. They want to just go overseas and enjoy the benefits that are existing in other developed countries,” Holness said earlier this month.

He noted, as well, that Jamaica has suffered from migration since post-Independence, especially since the 1970s.

“Since the 1970s, there has been a migration of Jamaica’s middle class… No country can progress without building its middle class. The middle class isn’t a bourgeoisie concept. The middle class is the segment of your society, where skills and entrepreneurism and innovation exist,” he explained. 

“Unfortunately, we have been losing them, and one of the reasons we have been losing them is security… job opportunities, maybe another, but we are slowly conquering that.”

Another issue driving middle-class persons away from the country is the quality of infrastructure, including housing, Holness then claimed.

“In our 60th year, we have to confront this, and make a commitment to improve our infrastructure, so that people can feel that they are living in a modern society,” he stated.

“So we are appealing to the young people in our country to consider that ‘Project Jamaica’ is not complete, and you have a role, not just to be critical of the incompleteness and failures of ‘Project Jamaica’, but you have a role in making ‘Project Jamaica’ a success,” urged Holness. 

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