Serbia’s poor, home-bound young people want to emigrate
More opportunities and better working conditions must be given to Serbia’s youth, many of which live with their parents until a relatively old age, are much poorer than the national average, and have a strong desire to leave the country, Milica Mutavdžić from the Belgrade human rights centre said.
The age at which young people move out of their family homes in Serbia is above the EU average and mirrors the trend in Balkan countries like Croatia where, according to Eurostat data, young people leave at 33, compared to 19 in Scandinavia.
“In the EU, the trend is very different, however, in Serbia, the average age for moving out of your parent’s home is 31 and a half years. For young men, it even goes up to 33 and a half years”, said Milica Mutavdžić from the Belgrade human rights centre.
Young workers also struggle in the labour market, as the average salary of young workers is currently 16% lower than the general average, meaning they often have problems covering their basic needs.
Many are also unemployed, and even when they have a job, they have poor working conditions and often do not have the right to sick leave, paid absence or paid overtime.
Mutavdžić points to culture and upbringing as the main reasons for these trends but also suggests that the lack of opportunities in the country also has its role to play.
“Culture and upbringing do have a large influence on young people, but what they need the most is opportunities. If half of our young men and women want to leave Serbia, something is wrong. We need to create better conditions for them”, Mutavdžić said.
“Only a self-sufficient individual can build a healthy society. Only someone who is responsible for themselves and able to take on responsibility can participate in forming a community that goes forward”, said psychologist Radmila Vulić Bojović for Serbian Radio-television (RTS).
(EURACTIV.rs | Bojana Zimonjić Jelisavac)