Over half of young Indians say they would emigrate to the US if they could

India’s youth are still eyeing opportunities abroad.
India’s youth are still eyeing opportunities abroad.
Image: Reuters/Vivek Prakash
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Bad news for India’s future brain drain: according to a new survey by the Economist and mobile phone messaging platform Nimbuzz, 57% of Indians between the ages of 18 and 22 would emigrate to America if they had the chance. Interestingly for India, which is expected to have the world’s youngest workforce by 2020, the reasons aren’t entirely related to the country’s struggling economy—violence and corruption are also big worries.

Image: The Economist

Despite the global financial crisis in 2008, economic growth in India had prompted observers to hail the advent of a reverse brain drain of top students, scientists, and entrepreneurs. But that doesn’t look so good now. India’s economy is in its sharpest downturn in a decade, growing just 4.5% last year.

As of May 2012, the government estimates that about 21 million non-resident Indians live outside their home country, or about 1.7% of the India’s population of 1.27 billion. That’s a slight drop from the previous estimates of between 25 million to 30 million Indians living abroad, but still signals a drain of talent and money. The wealth of Indian expatriates has been valued at as much as $1 trillion, according to Datamonitor.