A national study conducted by Information International, an independent Lebanon-based research body, revealed dismaying numbers on travel and emigration from Lebanon last December.
From mid-January till mid-November 2019, the number of Lebanese citizens who traveled and haven't returned reached 61,924, compared to 41,776 in the same period during 2018 — an increase of 42 percent. A staggering 19,263 people left Lebanon during the last three months of 2019, compared to 14,129 in 2018 — an increase of 36 percent.
The latter are due to the Oct. 17 revolution that erupted last year across Lebanon and saw citizens demand the resignation of the government along with their rights to basic needs including receiving water and electricity, healthcare, job opportunities, etc.
"There are many reasons [for emigration] and they're all intertwined," Alicia Obeid Jammal, senior analyst and project manager at Information International, told LBCI in an interview. "There are social, economic, and political reasons, as well as the security situation and unemployment, amongst other things."
"This is of course a scary number and calls for an emergency plan in the country to mitigate the situation," she followed.
The study also concludes that 80 percent of emigrants range between 20 and 40 years of age.
According to Google Trends, the number of searches for the word "emigration" on Google between October and December 2019 reached its peak since 2014. The last time the term was that popular was in 2006, when Lebanon was at war with Israel.
"Of course I think of emigrating," said one Lebanese man standing in Downtown Beirut at the heart of protestors' square to Al Jadeed. "Is there anything left here anyway that would make me stay?"
Time and time again, Lebanon has proven it has nothing to give its people, not even a chance to secure decent living.
Lebanese diaspora is beyond double the number of those still living in Lebanon
Lebanese people have truly spread all around the world, and the numbers are here to prove it.
"Estimates of the size of the Lebanese diaspora vary wildly but the most reliable statistics from the Lebanese government put the figure at 15.4 million," Anna Pukas wrote for Arab News in 2018. The number is only significant when it's compared to that of the internal population which, as of 2018, is reported at around 6 million.
Which are the countries that most Lebanese now call home? At least half the diaspora (or 7 million Lebanese people by birth or descent) reside in South America, particularly in Brazil.
There are 504,000 in the U.S. alone, which is not a much higher number than the one in Mexico (400,000) or Venezuela (340,000). Canada and France are each estimated to be home to 250,000 Lebanese, while Australia homes approximately 203,139 Lebanese.