According to Telex‘s report, most Hungarians moved abroad to work for a better living and not out of a desire for adventure. For a third of people, political sentiment is also an influencing factor in emigrating.
The situation in Hungary is seen differently by those who stay at home than by emigrants. Kopint-Tárki’s researcher wrote about Hungarian emigration in the 2020 volume of the Social Report (Társadalmi Riport). In the period between 2018 and 2019, a total of 1,387 Hungarians living abroad were interviewed, to which 853 Hungarian residents were added as a control group. The questions focused, among other things, on the reason behind their emigration. The research indicated that
65 per cent of emigrants moved in hopes of a higher income and therefore better livelihood.
For 40 per cent, desperation and lack of job opportunities in Hungary were the reasons, and for another 20 per cent, specific financial problems (such as loan repayment) were the main motivations. The political circumstances also played a part as 37% of Hungarian emigrants stated it as a reason for their emigration. One-fifth of the participants said that better education and thus a brighter future have influenced their decision-making.
Around 20-20% mentioned learning about living abroad or a desire for adventure as a motivating factor. In addition, some mentioned family reasons and fear of an unexpected future in Hungary.
The study also states that Hungarian emigrants’ will to return home remains low. When considering those Hungarians who stayed at home, on average they think their prospects have improved, which could be due to the rapidly rising wages and expanding job opportunities that took place during the data collection period. However, those living abroad think very differently. They consider the situation at home depressing and significantly more unfavourable.
All things considered (job and life prospects, political situation), 78 per cent think they will not return in the near future.
Overall, by the second half of the decade, the growth of emigration in Hungary, like in most countries, had slowed down. Between 2015 and 2019, it increased by only 1.2 percentage points, making Hungary one of the countries with moderate emigration.