During the pre-election period, political forces and figures often talk about the difficult social situation and safety issues in Armenia, and as one of the evidences of such issues they bring the rate of emigration since the beginning of the year.
The first and second presidents of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Robert Kocharyan respectively, spoke on this topic.
During a meeting with voters on 5th of June, 20221, the second president announced that emigration rate had reached unprecedented levels since the beginning of the year. “In the last 4 months, we have had emigration – more than 80 thousand people. Armenia had such numbers for the period of 4 months only in 1992 or 1993,” Kocharyan noted.
A similar statement was made by the first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan in an interview with the First Channel on June 15. “Emigration rate has reached aralming levels. “Over the part 3-4 months 70,000 people have left Armenia,” the first president said.
Taking into account the fact that the Statistical Committee publishes data on migration on a quarterly basis, the Fact Investigation Platform decided to study the migration picture of Armenia in the first quarters of the last 10 years to see how true the statements of the former presidents are, as well as study the opinions in response to them claiming that there has always been a negative migration balance in Armenia in the first part of the year.
The picture of migration of Armenia in the first quarters of the past 10 years
The statistics of arrivals and departures from Armenia are conducted on the basis of border registrations of entries and exits made through the border checkpoints of Armenia.
Accordingly, in the first quarter of 2012, 211.787 citizens left Armenia and 186.393 entered. Negative balance – 25.394 people. The following year, in 2013, the negative difference between the immigrations and emigrations of Armenian citizens at border crossings increased reaching to – 35.500 people.
Since 2014, the negative difference between arrivals and departures has been continuously decreasing: in 2014 – 28.447, in 2015 – 27.114 people. In the first quarter of 2016, the difference between arrivals and departures decreased even more : – 16.588 people. In 2017 it was – 14.984, and in 2018 it was -2.695.
In the first quarters of 2019 and 2020, a positive balance of migration of Armenian citizens was registered. In 2019, the number of citizens who returned to Armenia exceeded the number of those who left by 2.526, and in 2020, by 18.609.
However, it should be noted that since the beginning of last year, due to the global epidemic Covid-19, it became almost impossible for Armenian citizens to enter other countries, which was the main reason why the number of citizens returning to Armenia in the first three months was more by 18,600 than the number of those leaving.
As for this year, as we mentioned, the Statistical Committee published only the data of the first quarter, according to which 127,338 citizens left Armenia and 63,625 returned.
That means, the difference between those who left and those who returned is 63.713. It is obvious that this indicator of negative migration is unprecedented compared to recent years.
Taking into account the fact that over 63 thousand citizens left Armenia in the first three months, the number 70-80 thousand for the period of 4 months mentioned by the former presidents is quite realistic.
In conclusion, we can state that even taking into account the claims that the negative balance registered in the first half of the year is an accepted phenomenon, the comparison of official data shows that even for the first quarter of the year such data on emigration are unprecedented.