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Christian Emigration Report: Lebanon and Syria

The total number of Lebanese persons who immigrated to Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany and the United States is 138,047. The total number of visitors and Lebanese students is 839,024 divided as follows: 263,209 in Canada, 313,304 in Europe, 225,208 in the United States and 37,303 in Australia. It is very difficult to assess the percentage of emigrants among the Lebanese visitors and students in the absence of accurate statistics. Reports from Australian and American immigration centers show that there are 4,000 to 25,000 emigrants per year who are not registered, but Lebanon does not figure among the listed countries. European and American estimations show that a maximum of 7 percent of visitors and students become emigrants (not registered), for a total of 58,731 persons, increasing the number of emigrants to 197,000 (without Latin America and Asia, which represent the last choices for emigration).

The economic situation and the will of the Lebanese people to improve their standard of living was a motive for a large number of families to leave the country. These departures are not considered as emigration since:

  1. The countries targeted do not allow nationalization as do Arab and African ones,
  2. There are strong ties between those who leave and their home country, since they always aim to buy and/or build houses in Lebanon,
  3. Some of those who leave still have their families in Lebanon.

Based on the sample studied by Information International, 100,000 persons left the country for work purposes during the last 10 years (half of them are married). More than a third of them were accompanied by their families, which represents 150,000 persons.

39.2 percent of these “travelers” come from South Lebanon, followed respectively by Mount Lebanon (27.5%), Bekaa (12.8%), North Lebanon (11.1%) and Beirut (9.4%). United Arab Emirates represents the first destination (28%), followed by Africa (27%), Saudi Arabia (23%), Kuwait (15%) and the United States, as well as Europe, the Gulf and Latin America.

Emigration touches everybody regardless of religion:

Rite Percentage
Maronites 30
Orthodox 6.6
other Catholics 5.1
Armenians 4.6
Shiites 30.4
Sunni 18.3
Druzes 5.3

While in the past the majority of those who emigrated were Christian, non-Christians (Shiite and Sunni Muslims and Druze) have in the past 10 years outnumbered Christian emigrants.

66.3 percent of the people targeted by the survey estimated that the major cause for emigration is the unavailability of work in Lebanon. The remaining percentage is divided as follows:





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