Age group of
Arab youth




Sample split:


Presenting evidence-based insights into the hopes, fears and aspirations of Arab youth.

Now in its ninth year, the annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey is one of the most important pieces of research produced in the Middle East, and offers unique insight into the attitudes and aspirations of the region’s biggest demographic.

With 60% of the Arab population under the age of 30, and over one-third of them, more than 100 million, aged 15 to 29, this Survey presents evidence-based insights into the attitudes of Arab youth, providing public and private sector organisations with data and analysis to inform their decision-making and policy creation.

The survey is the largest of its kind of the region’s largest demographic, and covers the six Gulf Cooperation Council states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE), North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia) the Levant (Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine*) and Yemen. The survey did not include Syria due to the civil unrest in the country.


The 9th annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2017 was conducted by international polling firm PSB Research to explore attitudes among Arab youth in 16 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. With roots in innovative political campaign strategy, PSB Research is a full-service research insights agency engaging blue-chip organizations across all sectors.


For the 9th annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2017, PSB Research conducted 3,500 face-to-face interviews from February 7 to March 7, 2017, with Arab men and women in the age group of 18 to 24. The interviews were completed in Arabic and English.

Participants were interviewed in-depth about subjects ranging from the political to the personal. Topics explored included the concerns and aspirations of Arab youth, their views on the economy and foreign affairs, the impact of unemployment on their lives, the election of Donald Trump and its implications for the region, their attitudes towards Arabic language and their media consumption habits.

Respondents, exclusively nationals of each of the surveyed countries, were selected to provide an accurate reflection of each nation’s geographic and socio-economic make-up. The gender split of the survey is 50:50 male to female. The margin of error of the survey is +/-1.65 per cent.

There were 200 respondents from each country represented in the survey, except for the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt with 300 respondents each, and Iraq with 250 and Palestine with 150.

The geographic location of respondents was also taken into account by PSB when developing the fieldwork methodology – with, for example, 40 per cent of UAE respondents in Abu Dhabi, 40 per cent in Dubai and 20 per cent in Sharjah.

Saudi respondents were drawn from three of the country’s main cities; Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam; Palestine’s youth from the West Bank and Gaza; Oman’s youth from Muscat and Batinah; Lebanese youth from Beirut, Saida, and Tripoli; Tunisian youth from Tunis, Sfax and Soussa; Iraqi youth from Baghdad, Irbil and Basrah; Egyptian youth from Cairo, Alexandria and Mansoura, and so on across each country. When analysed, this geographic spread provides a more accurate national picture than findings based solely on the responses of those living in capital cities.

In some of the data in this report, some results may not total 100%. This is because survey participants could select multiple answers.

16 Arab States covered


Population: 1.42 mn (expats - 52%)
GDP (PPP): US$68.9 bn
Share of oil to GDP: 24%
Youth unemployment: 14%
Internet penetration: 91.5%
Social media penetration: 78%
Population: 4.09 mn (expats - 69%)
GDP (PPP): US$315.6 bn
Share of oil to GDP: 50%
Youth unemployment: 19.4%
Internet penetration: 79.9%
Social media penetration: 74%
Population: 4.74 mn (expats - 42%)
GDP (PPP): US$181.5 bn
Share of oil to GDP: 46%
Youth unemployment: 18.8%
Internet penetration: 71%
Social media penetration: 43%
Population: 2.66 mn (expats -85%)
GDP (PPP): US$353.1 bn
Share of oil to GDP: 50%
Youth unemployment: 1.5%
Internet penetration: 92%
Social media penetration: 99%
Saudi Arabia
Population: 32.74 mn (expats - 32.7%)
GDP (PPP): US$1,803.4 bn
Share of oil to GDP: 42%
Youth unemployment: 33.5%
Internet penetration: 64.7%
Social media penetration: 59%
United Arab Emirates
Population: 9.4 mn (expats - 88.5%)
GDP (PPP): US$698.5bn
Share of oil to GDP: 25%
Youth unemployment: 10%
Internet penetration: 91.9%
Social media penetration: 99%

Levant & Yemen

Population: 38.6 mn
GDP (PPP): US$612.3bn
Share of oil to GDP: 65%
Youth unemployment: 35%
Internet penetration: 37.3%
Social media penetration: 42%
Population: 7.8 mn
GDP (PPP): US$90.9bn
Share of oil to GDP: NA
Youth unemployment: 29%
Internet penetration: 45.7%
Social media penetration: 69%
Population: 6 mn
GDP (PPP): US$88.7 bn
Share of oil to GDP: NA
Youth unemployment: 21%
Internet penetration:76%
Social media penetration: 58%
Palestinian territories
Population: 4.9 mn
GDP (PPP): US$8 bn
Share of oil to GDP: NA
Youth unemployment: 43%
Internet penetration:62.7%
Social media penetration: 35%
Population: 28.1 mn
GDP (PPP): US$84.5 bn
Share of oil to GDP: 25%
Youth unemployment: 30%
Internet penetration:24.7%
Social media penetration: 8%

North Africa

Population: 41 mn
GDP (PPP): US$640.6 bn
Share of oil to GDP: 35%
Youth unemployment: 20%
Internet penetration:19.7%
Social media penetration: 44%
Population: 95.2 mn
GDP (PPP): US$1,173.6 bn
Share of oil to GDP: NA
Youth unemployment: 42%
Internet penetration:33%
Social media penetration: 37%
Population: 6.33 mn
GDP (PPP): US$105.6bn
Share of oil to GDP: 60%
Youth unemployment: 49%
Internet penetration:21.1%
Social media penetration: 50%
Population: 35.2 mn
GDP (PPP): US$302.7bn
Share of oil to GDP: NA
Youth unemployment: 21%
Internet penetration: 57.6%
Social media penetration: 40%
Population: 11.4 mn
GDP (PPP): US$137.4 bn
Share of oil to GDP: NA
Youth unemployment: 32%
Internet penetration: 48.1%
Social media penetration: 56%
*ALL 2017 ESTIMATES: Population: http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/ Qatar Ministry of Development, Planning & Statistics; http://gulfmigration.eu GDP: International Monetary Fund; http://bit.ly/2oeJ8sI Trading Economics; http://www.tradingeconomics.com Share of oil in GDP: Ministries of Economies, IMF, The World Fact Book; UNDP in Iraq (http://www.iq.undp.org/content/iraq/en/home/countryinfo.html) OPEC (http://www.opec.org) Youth unemployment: World Bank, Oxford Business Group, The Economist (http://econ.st/2aOzE0e) Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (http://www.pcbs.gov.ps) Internet users & penetration – http://www.internetlivestats.com; http://www.internetworldstats.com; http://www.internetsociety.org Total social media penetration; www.statista.com; http://bit.ly/2oVB5iR


Watch our panel of experts discuss the key findings of the ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2017. The wide-ranging conversation takes on hot-button issues facing youth today, including lack for job opportunities and the threats posed by extremism.

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