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Dynamics of readiness to move to live in the USA or the EU in the case of citizenship of these countries: results of a telephone survey conducted on September 7-13, 2022

The press release was prepared by Anton Hrushetskyi, the Deputy Director of KIIS


From September 7 to 13, 2022, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted its own all-Ukrainian public opinion survey "Omnibus". By the method of computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) based on a random sample of mobile phone numbers (with random generation of phone numbers and subsequent statistical weighting), 2,000 respondents living in all regions of Ukraine (except AR of Crimea) were interviewed. The survey was conducted with adult (aged 18 and older) citizens of Ukraine who, at the time of the survey, lived on the territory of Ukraine (within the boundaries controlled by the authorities of Ukraine until February 24, 2022). The sample did not include residents of territories that were not temporarily controlled by the authorities of Ukraine until February 24, 2022 (AR of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts), and the survey was not conducted with citizens who left the country after February 24, 2022.

Formally, under normal circumstances, the statistical error of such a sample (with a probability of 0.95 and taking into account the design effect of 1.1) did not exceed 2.4% for indicators close to 50%, 2.1% for indicators close to 25%, 1.5% - for indicators close to 10%, 1.1% - for indicators close to 5%.

Under conditions of war, in addition to the specified formal error, a certain systematic deviation is added. In particular, if back in May, among all the respondents we interviewed, 2.5-4% lived in the territories occupied after February 24 (and this corresponded to the percentage of those who live there, because the generation of telephone numbers was random), now, due to the occupiers turning off the telephone connection we managed to interview fewer respondents living in occupied settlements, in particular, their number is 0.3%. It is important to note that although the views of the respondents who lived in the occupation were somewhat different, the general tendencies were quite similar. That is, the impossibility of interviewing such respondents does not significantly affect the quality of the results. There are other factors that can affect the quality of results in "wartime" conditions (see Annex 2).

In general, we believe that the obtained results are still highly representative and allow a fairly reliable analysis of public attitudes.


Readiness to move to live in the USA or the EU in case of obtaining citizenship of these countries


In October 2020, KMIS conducted an all-Ukrainian telephone survey, which, among other things, asked the question "And if you were now granted USA or EU citizenship without conditions, would you go to these countries for permanent residence?"[1]. At that time, 28% of all adult Ukrainians were ready to go live abroad.

In September 2022, we asked this question again, and graph 1 shows the respondents' answers. As can be seen, the share of those who are ready to leave to live in the USA / EU decreased by 4 times - from 28% to 7%. At the same time, there was an increase from 69% to 91% of those who would not want to leave even if they were granted USA / EU citizenship without conditions.

It should be taken into account that about 10% of adult Ukrainians are now abroad as refugees. However, even if half of them would answer "yes" to this question (recent surveys of Ukrainian refugees show that, in fact, the majority still want to return home, that is, the answers "yes" would be, most likely, less than half), then the decrease in emigration moods would also be significant - from 28% to about 13%%.


Graph 1. Would you move to live in the USA / EU if you were granted citizenship without conditions



In all regions of Ukraine, the absolute majority of the population (90-92%) would not want to leave to live abroad. Also, compared to 2020, there were significantly fewer people who would like to leave in all regions.


Graph2. Would move to live in the USA / EU, if were granted citizenship without conditions, in the regional dimension



Graph 3 shows the results in terms of age categories. Although younger respondents are more willing to emigrate, but in reality among all age categories, the absolute majority (at least 84%) would not want to leave to live in the USA / EU.

It is also important that in the case of all age categories, there is a significant decrease in willingness to move to the USA / EU compared to 2020. For example, in 2020, almost half (46%) of young people under 30 would like to leave, now – 13%.


Graph3. Would move to live in the USA / EU if were granted citizenship without conditions, among certain age categories



A. Hrushetskyi, comments on the survey results:


Preservation of human potential is one of the key tasks for Ukrainian society in the conditions of war and during the period of post-war reconstruction. Traditionally, Ukraine demonstrated quite high indicators of emigration moods (both according to surveys and according to the actual population outflow). Currently, against the background of general population cohesion and fairly optimistic moods, we are observing, on the contrary, an increase in the desire to stay and work in Ukraine. The latest KIIS polls show that the respondents assess the current situation in Ukraine with moderate optimism, and in the case of the future of Ukraine, almost 90% are optimistic. Most likely, such optimism determines to a large extent the desire to stay in Ukraine.

Of course, the moods of the population can be changeable, all the more so that we still have a number of tests ahead of us on various fronts. However, now the foundation of public moods is quite favorable and it is important to at least maintain it at the current level.

Annex 1. Formulation of questions from the questionnaire


And if you were now granted the citizenship of the USA or the European Union without conditions, would you go to these countries for permanent residence?

 (% among all respondents)

100% in the column Region: where lived until February 24, 2022 Ukraine as a whole West[2] Center South East
Definitely yes 2 1 2 3 3
Rather, yes 5 5 5 6 6
Rather, no 21 23 23 17 21
Definitely no 70 69 69 73 69




Annex 2. Methodological comments on the representativeness of telephone surveys conducted during the war


Even before the full-scale Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, there were a number of factors that negatively affected the representativeness of the polls (for example, the absence of a census for more than 20 years). A full-scale war, of course, greatly affects representativeness and complicates the work of sociologists, but does not make it impossible. Access to reliable data on the state of public moods remains relevant both for Ukrainians themselves and for our foreign partners (who, as the events of the past 5 months have shown, often underestimated and did not understand Ukraine and Ukrainians).

At the same time, in order to maintain objectivity, it is necessary to understand what limitations the war imposes on the conduct of sociological surveys. First of all, we pay attention to large-scale population movements. At the beginning of July, EU representatives estimated that 3.2-3.7 million Ukrainians - adults and children - are currently in these countries. There is no exact data on how many of them are adult citizens, but, most likely, it is about half. In addition, some Ukrainians left for other countries, except for the EU. In particular, a significant number of Ukrainians were forcibly deported to Russia and Belarus (according to some estimates, about 1 million). Among the approximately 30 million adult citizens (estimated at the time of the full-scale invasion), it can be roughly estimated that about 10% have left the country, and the method of telephone interviews cannot provide a reliable survey of these citizens. Even more citizens have become internally displaced persons, but they have a much smaller impact on the quality of telephone surveys, since almost all of these citizens have mobile phones and are reachable to participate in the survey (in fact, 16% of the respondents of this survey are IDPs).

Another important issue is the accessibility for the survey of the population of the territories that were occupied after February 24, 2022, due to the conduct of intensive military operations or due to interruptions in telephone communication. Now there is practically no connection. In May, 2.5-4% of respondents lived in these territories, now in the sample of residents of these territories - 0.2%. But it should be taken into account that a significant part of the population continues to leave these territories, therefore, most likely, no more than 1.5-2.5% of the total adult population of Ukraine are inaccessible due to communication problems.

In our opinion, a more significant impact on representativeness can have either a generally lower willingness of citizens with "pro-Russian" moods to participate in surveys, or the insincerity of those who did take part in the survey (given the obvious facts and prevailing opinions in the media regarding the Russian invasion , some citizens will not want to say what they really think "in public"). If to talk about the general willingness of respondents to participate in the survey, then in recent surveys we see either the same indicators or slightly lower (although it should be borne in mind that the lower willingness to participate of "pro-Russian"-minded citizens can be compensated by the higher willingness to participate of "pro-Ukrainian"-minded citizens).

We conducted a small methodological experiment in May, which shows that the citizens who are currently participating in the polls in terms of demographic characteristics and meaningful moods are close to those who participated in the polls until February 24, 2022. Preliminarily, we see some shift in the direction of "pro-Ukrainian"-minded citizens, which is reflected in up to 4-6% deviations for individual questions (in the direction of more frequent selection of answers that correspond to the "pro-Ukrainian" interpretation of events). In our opinion, this is a rather optimistic indicator in the current conditions. However, this experiment does not give an answer as to how sincere the respondents are now in their answers.

Taking into account our own observations and the experience of conducting surveys over many years, we still remain optimistic that, for the most part, respondents answer the questions sincerely. For example, the "imagined acquaintance" experiment shows little difference with the direct question. In addition, we assume that the demographic categories of citizens who have gone abroad and are unreachable for a telephone survey, at least now, do not differ very significantly in terms of a number of meaningful moods from similar demographic categories of citizens who have remained in Ukraine.

As a result, in our opinion, we should talk about a certain decrease in representativeness and an increase in error (in addition to the previously mentioned formal error, a certain systematic deviation is added due to the factors considered above), but at the same time, the obtained results still retain high representativeness and allow for a fairly reliable analysis of public moods of the population.

[1] Socio-political orientations of the population of Ukraine: October 2020 //

[2] The composition of the macroregions is as follows: Western macroregion – Volyn, Rivne, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Zakarpattia, Khmelnytskyi, Chernivtsi oblasts; Central macroregion – Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Chernihiv, Poltava, Kirovohrad, Cherkasy, Kyiv oblasts, Kyiv city, Southern macroregion – Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Odesa oblasts, Eastern macroregion – Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv oblasts.

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