Brain Drain in Numbers: India, Philippines, Pakistan on top


In these modern times, when it is practically convenient and easy to move from one place to another; there exists a modern-day challenge in the form of brain drain. Brain drain is a migration phenomenon when many well-educated and professional individuals leave one place for the hope of a better living and social condition in another place. This situation has been cited many times in various articles, but few resources are found to objectively determine the existence of it.

In this blogpost, I will try to provide the evidences that brain drain exists and how it has influenced the lives of people both economically and socially. I tried using statistics to make a general conclusion that emigration has led to significant economic increase in the lives of people, but all those attempts yielded no general patterns. This is because emigration is caused by several factors such as wars, insurgencies, politics etc., which makes it difficult to draw a deductive generalization that those with negative migration rates experienced growth in GDP per capita in the last few years. This I suppose would somehow show that brain drain have contributed positively to countries where significantly number of people leave their country for greener pastures.

Alternatively, I used descriptive statistics to determine the existence of brain drain. There are three factors considered in the determining brain drain.
  1. Amount of remittances received in millions of US Dollars
  2. Net migration in recent year
  3. Estimated number of tertiary educated emigrating individuals.
The assumptions used were the following:
  1. Most educated emigrating individuals tend to earn better, such that they would naturally send some of their earnings back to their original country, supporting the remaining family members. This assumption is based on the philosophy that the emigrating individuals have made a decision to leave their destination country to have better living conditions, and support their families in their home country. Although not all emigrating individuals would do the same, the amount of remittances was used to descriptively determined, which countries are experiencing brain drain.
  2. The amount remittances is not just a sole indicator of brain drain. Net migration should also be utilized. Net migration is the difference between people migrating into and from the country. A positive net migration means more people are coming into a certain country, while a negative number indicates more people are leaving their home country. However, reasons for emigration can vary from one place to another. The assumption for this is that should a country received a significant amount of remittances and has a significant negative net migration, these are signs that there exists brain drain.
  3. Supplementing the two other mentioned data, an estimated data for the number of tertiary-educated emigrating individuals was also obtained. This was computed from the annual percentage data provided by the World Bank. This confirms the assumptions provided in the two other indicators.
Using these three indicators derived from the data of World Bank data in 2013, the numbers show that there are eight countries most likely experiencing brain drain. 

These countries are the following:
  1. India
  2. Philippines
  3. Pakistan
  4. Mexico
  5. Bangladesh
  6. China
  7. Morocco
  8. Vietnam
In the table below, it is very obvious that India tops the list of remittances, negative migration and ranks fourth in the number of well-educated emigrating individuals. The Philippines, on the other hand is ranked number 2, even China has a greate remittances, given that Chinese remittances may be big sum of money coming from both highly-educated and its lower counterparts, and not singly from well-educated emigrating citizens. Pakistan follows at number 3 even though it has more negative migration and number of well-educated emigrating individuals. This is because Pakistan may have the greater number of emigrants than the Philippines, but the latter has almost doubled the amount of remittances of the former, which supports the primary objective of brain drain that is to economically uplift living conditions.

1.       India
69,970
2.       China
38,819
3.       Philippines
26,700
4.       France
23,336
5.       Mexico
23,022
6.       Nigeria
20,633
7.       Egypt, Arab Rep.
19,236
8.       Germany
15,792
9.       Pakistan
14,626
10.   Bangladesh
13,857
11.   Belgium
11,105
12.   Ukraine
9,667
13.   Spain
9,584
14.   Vietnam
8,600
15.   Lebanon
7,864
16.   Indonesia
7,614
17.   Italy
7,471
18.   Poland
6,984
19.   Morocco
6,882
20.   Russian Federation
6,751

The other countries on the table above, where not considered since the high amount of remittances does not coincide with their net migration and number of well-educated emigrating individuals. This data shows that either emigrating individuals were earning higher but not leaving their home countries, or there were earning higher but most were not highly educated, or perhaps the significant amount of remittances were merely due to the bulk of earning individuals. Moreover, on the table below countries like Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Libya, Iran and Haiti were excluded from the list of countries possibly experiencing brain, because emigration maybe due to the political and environmental living conditions on these countries. Moreover, most European countries were sending high remittances but these data were inconsistent with their net migration, as well. Furthermore, Sri Lanka has a negative net migration and significant number of tertiary educated emigrating individuals, but there exists lower amount of remittances in 2013.

1.       India
-2,294
2.       Bangladesh
-2,041
3.       Pakistan
-1,634
4.       Syrian Arab Republic
-1,500
China
-1,500
5.       Mexico
-1,200
6.       Sudan
-800
7.       Philippines
-700
Indonesia
-700
8.       Morocco
-450
9.       Nepal
-401
10.   Afghanistan
-400
11.   Sri Lanka
-317
12.   Mali
-302
13.   Peru
-300
Nigeria
-300
Iran, Islamic Rep.
-300
14.   Libya
-239
15.   El Salvador
-225
16.   Egypt, Arab Rep.
-216
17.   Vietnam
-200
Uzbekistan
-200
18.   Brazil
-190
19.   Kyrgyz Republic
-175
Haiti
-175

On the other hand, Mexico, a country sharing border with United States of America is ranked number 4. since many well-educated Mexicans leave their country to earn bigger. Although Bangladesh has greater number of emigrants, Mexico has double of the number of well-educated emigrants and amount of remittances. This leaves Bangladesh at number 5. China, on the other hand, has fewer well-educated emigrants than Bangladesh, putting them at sixth place. Moreover; Nepal, Mali, Peru, El Salvador, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyztan and Brazil have more negative net migration, but have lower amount of remittances in 2013, such that these countries were excluded from the list. Furthermore; Indonesia, Egypt were excluded in the list of countries of possibly experiencing brain drain, because of there is insufficient number of well-educated emigrating individuals, according to the World bank data.

1.       Pakistan
207518
2.       Mexico
186000
3.       Haiti
145950
4.       India
98642
5.       Philippines
95200
6.       Syrian Arab Republic
93000
7.       Afghanistan
90400
8.       Bangladesh
89804
9.       Sri Lanka
89394
10.   Morocco
83700
11.   El Salvador
71325
12.   Jamaica
67760
13.   China
57000
14.   Sudan
54400
15.   Vietnam
54000
16.   Uganda
54000
17.   Somalia
51750
18.   Ghana
44700
19.   Mali
44696
20.   Iran, Islamic Rep.
42900

Following the table above, Morocco have greater number of well-educated emigrants than Vietnam, although the latter has a slight edge over the former in terms of remittances. This is the reason why Morocco ranks seventh, while Vietnam is at eighth. Moreover, there is a risk that countries like Jamaica, Uganda and Ghana maybe at risk of experiencing brain drain, but presently it make take time before these countries yield high remittances and more negative net migration. Moreover, Egypt and Nigeria have good numbers in remittances and net migration, but most of their emigrants have lower level of education compared to their counterparts, according to the data presented. However, these countries might be experiencing brain drain in the next few years, as their population are one of the largest in the world, according to the table below.

1.       China
1,357.40
2.       India
1,252.10
3.       United States
316.1
4.       Indonesia
249.9
5.       Brazil
200.4
6.       Pakistan
182.1
7.       Nigeria
173.6
8.       Bangladesh
156.6
9.       Russian Federation
143.5
10.   Japan
127.3
11.   Mexico
122.3
12.   Philippines
98.4
13.   Ethiopia
94.1
14.   Vietnam
89.7
15.   Egypt, Arab Rep.
82.1
16.   Germany
80.6
17.   Iran, Islamic Rep.
77.4
18.   Turkey
74.9
19.   Congo, Dem. Rep.
67.5
20.   Thailand
67.0

Interestingly, most of the countries cited to be experiencing brain drain are part of the twenty largest population in the world, except Morocco. This may give a signal that brain drain may continue to worsen in these counties in the next few years or decades, as more and more competition for economic opportunities will be felt on these countries, triggering more emigration and brain drain. On the other hand, USA, Japan and Germany are few of the world's largest economies. This shows that immigration to these countries are more likely, such that these are more likely recipients of highly-skilled workers from emigrating countries in the near future, further expanding their population.

The greatest objective of emigration is to seek for better living condition both for the emigrating individual and their home countries. The table below shows that the world's fastest economically-growing countries in terms of GDP per capita. This is computed from the quotient of their GDP and its estimated population in 2013. This statistic will provide a glimpse of the changes occurring within the country, although there might be other factors affecting economic improvements. The table below depicts that only China, Philippines and Bangladesh so far are starting to reap somehow directly or indirectly from emigration. The assumption would be that if GDP growth per capita will be consistent in at least a decade, brain drain would somehow ease, as more well-educated people would be looking for opportunities in their home country, rather than finding greater opportunities abroad.

1.       Paraguay
12.3
2.       Mongolia
10.1
3.       Macao SAR, China
10.0
4.       Moldova
8.9
5.       Turkmenistan
8.8
6.       Liberia
8.6
7.       South Sudan
8.5
8.       Kyrgyz Republic
8.4
9.       Ethiopia
7.7
10.   China
7.1
11.   Panama
6.6
12.   Lao PDR
6.5
13.   Sri Lanka
6.4
14.   Uzbekistan
6.3
15.   Cote d'Ivoire
6.2
16.   Congo, Dem. Rep.
5.6
17.   Cambodia
5.5
18.   Ghana
5.4
19.   Philippines
5.3
20.   Latvia
5.2
21.   Timor-Leste
5.2
22.   Bolivia
5.0
23.   Botswana
4.9
24.   Mozambique
4.8
25.   Tajikistan
4.8
26.   Bangladesh
4.7
27.   Guyana
4.7
28.   Indonesia
4.5
29.   Kazakhstan
4.5
30.   Azerbaijan
4.4

Lastly, brain drain is a reality. People somehow blame the political environment of the countries involved. However, the reality is leaving the country is more of a personal decision than an influence of the politico-economic status of the country. This is brought about by a conscious decision on what lifestyle level is wanted and aimed for. Should one want a lifestyle better than expected and possible in their home country, then it would be a wise decision to find other solutions to meet these goals, regardless of where these solutions are found, inside or outside their home country.

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