Christian Emigration Report: Lebanon and Syria
23 Jan 2002 The Situation in Lebanon
The main reasons for emigration from Lebanon are economic, social and political. The number of emigrants continues to increase each year. As a result, many families have emigrated and hundreds of homes have been abandoned. In this study, we will attempt to answer the following questions:
- The number of people who left the country during the past 10 years.
- The religious communities, locales and social sectors affected by emigration.
Emigration from what is today the Republic of Lebanon started in the late 19th century, following the civil war of 1860. The majority went to Egypt, then France, the United States, Australia and Brazil. The second wave of emigration occurred after the beginning of the 15-year civil war (1975-90); some 900,000 persons are thought to have emigrated during the last 15 years of war.
Some of the results of a study done by Information International published in Al Nahar, dated 26-27 November 2001, are listed below. Information International based its study on different statistics and on a study performed by its staff.
Information International collected data about emigration for the period between 1991 and 2000. In order to reach precise figures, it contacted embassies of the countries concerned in immigration. To verify their findings, they studied a sample of 1,087 Lebanese families representing 5,890 persons.
Results of the Study
By the end of 2000, the registered population of Lebanon was 4,672,746 persons. The residents were estimated at 3,451,000 persons, which meant that there were 1,221,746 persons outside Lebanon. This number included those who have a Lebanese identity card regardless of the year they emigrated.
Movement of people through the Beirut International Airport may be the most accurate way to assess the number of people leaving the country:
|Year || Arrivals || Departures ||Balance |
|1992 ||527,118 |
|1993 ||644,032 |
|1994 ||765,925 ||779,365 ||-13,440 |
|1995 ||802,352 ||809,988 ||-7,636 |
|1996 ||818,416 ||827,063 ||-8,647 |
|1997 ||963,657 ||976,617 ||-12,960 |
|1998 ||1,002,117 ||993,794 ||+8,323 |
|1999 ||1,050,001 ||1,060,655 ||-10,654 |
|2000 ||1,114,058 ||1,125,442 ||-11,384 |
|Totals || 7,687,676 ||7,830,569 ||-142,893 |
Source: General Department of Civil Aviation
The movement of people at Beirut International Airport is not limited to the Lebanese only; it includes foreigners and workers who stay in Lebanon. Based on the statistics of the Ministry of Labor, 75,000 foreign workers are officially registered. This number should be doubled in the presence of additional 75,000 foreign workers not officially registered (sources in the same ministry). Therefore, the estimated number of those who left Lebanon will add up to be 292,893 persons. Minimal number that travels through airports in Syria and Jordan should be added.