IRI Kosovo Poll Shows Strong Desire Among Youth to Leave, Dim Views on Economy and Corruption, Strong Support for Western Institutions

Pristina, Kosovo – A nationwide poll in Kosovo by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research shows a strong desire among young Kosovars to leave the country as well as concerns over the economy and a sense of widespread corruption. However, support for Western institutions and democratic governance also remain strong. 

When asked if they would take the opportunity to go abroad for a period longer than a vacation, 78% of Kosovars between the ages of 18 and 35 responded “definitely yes” or “probably yes”.   

“Many young people are looking to leave Kosovo right now,” said Paul McCarthy, Regional Director for Europe at IRI. “A struggling economy and a sense that corruption can be found in all elements of society has younger Kosovars looking to build a future beyond their country’s borders.” 

IRI’s survey shows that 77% of all Kosovars identify the economy and unemployment or corruption among the top problems facing the nation. Further, only 40% of Kosovars feel that the country is moving in the right direction.

The poll also highlights strongly held views of democratic governance and Western institutions. Seventy-six percent of Kosovars believe that democracy is the best possible form of government. Separately, 89% support joining NATO and 91% support joining the European Union. 

“Although Kosovars are currently experiencing economic problems, they truly understand that democracy is key to achieving peace and prosperity,” said McCarthy.


The survey was conducted on behalf of the International Republican Institute’s Center for Insights for Survey Research by KANTAR Index Kosova. ​Data was collected between September 3 and September 18, 2021, through computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) administered via mobile numbers drawn randomly from a database of 7,000 active mobile number in Kosovo. ​The sample consists of n=1,200 residents of Kosovo aged 18 and older.​ The sample was weighted according to age, gender, region, residence and ethnicity using the latest data from the Census conducted in 2011 and 2016 estimates of the Kosovo Agency of Statistics. ​ 

The response rate was 36%. ​The margin of error for the mid-range of the full sample does not exceed ± 2.8 points at the 95% confidence level.​ 

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