Social Emigration Challenges for Armenia

5 m.   |  2019-01-21

Divorce-Emigration Connection (Interconnection level)

Emigration is a major problem for Armenia, with a number of factors [1] influencing its trajectory difficulty in finding jobs, desire to live prosperously, better future these all have been contributing to Armenia’s lack of population growth. Emigration statistics recorded in previous years put Armenia on a difficult road in managing its depopulation challenges.

Nowadays political, economic and social issues pointing out the demographic crisis in Armenia and its decrease in population are discussed from different experts in the field. Particularly, Daron Acemoglu, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, considers the Armenian Diaspora is a factor that influences Armenian nationals to emigrate and believes that emigration as a whole is a mortal danger for Armenia.  Assessments [2] from other researchers, point out that the first wave of emigration was in the 1990’s, as well as a second wave from 2008. This resulted of the reconstruction and implementation of a capitalistic system in Armenia.  

T he study of divorce rates in correlation to emigration in Armenia shows, that in 2007, the divorces increased 215% compared with 1999, and marriages by 22%, however, the population continued to decline in the following years.  Recently, the number of marriages and the total birthrate has a tendency to decline. This is partially explained by women having their first children (25 in 1999, 26.4 in 2016) and by the increase in men and women marriage age (in village and in city)

The number of marriages and divorces (person) and the total fertility and mortality rate (%) in 1991-2017: (resource: RA RC yearbooks)

At the same time, women and men reproductive age number has greatly declined, which is an “emigration” result of birth rate decline. Hence, in 2016 the men’s reproductive age decreased by 23.7% compared with 1999, and the females by 26.8%.

The official data from the Statistical Committee of the Republic of Armenia, states that between 1999-2009, emigration statistics was more positive, which is, perhaps, a result of the economic growth that occurred in Armenia during those years. In 2010, the net emigration rate was almost doubled to the 14% of the previous year’s economic decline and 18.7% of unemployment rate conditions.

International Passenger Traffic Volumes in 1999-2017, thousand people

The number of people having arrived to the RA exceeded the number of those who have left only in 2004-2006 compared with 1999-2017, which is explained by the Armenia’s growth during the global economic surge. In 2007, the annual growth rates of emigration were emphasized since the pre-crisis period. The effects of the crisis hasn’t yet disappeared, the emigration has been continually increasing in the country, and the population number has been declining to the borderline of 3 million.  

In the above mentioned years, besides economic turmoil, we can also highlight the political and socio-psychological interference that has caused mass emigration, Azerbaijan’s military rhetoric, the Karabakh conflict and the atmosphere after the events of March 1, 2018 with many other contributing factors.

An econometric analysis was carried out to emphasize the emigration social dangers, as well as to define the relationships between the great change in divorce numbers and migration. This gives us an opportunity to understand how migration (in this case, the number of people leaving) deals with the divorce number. Before conducting the impact assessment, numerical rows have been displayed in logarithmic calculation, in order to adjust the possible percentage variations.

Correlation between divorces and people leaving Armenia

The chart shows the strong correlative link between divorces and people leaving Armenia 0.968). This means that the divorce number increases in parallel with the emigration, which in its turn brings about numerous new social problems. Demographic problems are aggravated as a result of large volumes of emigration flows, identifying challenges in both birth rate increase and preventing emigration.

S tatistical indicators are just signals for creating more flexible and practical mechanisms through state policy reforms especially in the case of young people's reproductive age.  Having professional knowledge and skills as a young person plus the absence of decent work, which is further exacerbated by the permanent imbalance between supply and demand of Armenia’s labor market does not help the current situation.

All this has had an impact on the population ageing rate, which formed 82.6% in 2016, in contrast to the 32.4% in 1990. Although a number of statistical analyses state, that population ageing leads to the decrease in the number of crime and divorces, in 2016, the number of crimes increased by 75% (17546 crimes) compared with 1999, and divorces up to 3 times.

The social-economic dangers of population ageing are evident: decrease in labor resources, imbalance of state budget income and expenditure. Finally, we can say, that over the last decade, the high rate of the Armenian emigration has impacted not only on the population but also led to the breakdown of socio-economic and inter social problems.

[1] “IPSC”, “Life quality survey in Armenia” 2016, p. 146-152

[2]  Samvel Manukyan, “IPSC”, “Migration Management Factors in Armenia”, 2012