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Brac finds 44% of young people don’t identify as ‘Bangladeshi’ first

  • Published at 12:41 am July 25th, 2019
Youth-Brac-Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune
Discussants at the program Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

In Bangladesh, nationality as first choice of identity is gradually declining

A survey by Brac has reported that nearly half of the respondent youths in Bangladesh do not prefer nationality over other choices of self-identity.

The survey, revealed by Brac on Wednesday at Lakeshore hotel, states that among the participants, 44% had preferred to identify themselves based on religion, education, and occupation, instead of describing themselves as “Bangladeshi”.

The survey was conducted among 4200 people, with an equal proportion of male, and female participants.

According to the survey, about 20% of the youth chose religion to describe themselves, while 14% chose education as their preferred self-identity, and 10% chose occupation over other identities.

Meanwhile, young women, in contrast with young men, are more likely to choose gender, and less likely to choose an occupation, and educational attainments as their dominant identity.

In addition, the survey states that nationality, as an identity, remains a dominant choice across all age groups, while religion as a preferred identity grows in popularity with age.

Migration and identity crisis

Many youths, from both poor, and wealthy backgrounds, are likely to go abroad to seek quality of life, and employment.

The survey reports that underprivileged youths with limited education are interested to migrate for work. However, the wealthier are more likely to actively plan for long term migration than the poor.

Youths who have identified themselves as ultra-poor are more likely to choose nationality as their dominant identity than any other group, almost twice as likely as their wealthier counterparts.

Nationality declining as preferred self-identity

On May 2017, a Bangla Tribune survey on Bangladeshi youths, asked 2,400 respondents to choose the factor that dominantly influences their identity, from the following options: nationality, language and/or culture, religion, family, profession, or other. 

The majority, 48.21%, picked nationality. Religious identity was a distant second at 17%, followed by linguistic/cultural identity at 12%. 

In the survey, an overwhelming majority of respondents said modern, and higher education is the dominant factor in terms of raising young people to be good, and successful citizens, while a meagre eight percent said patriotism or awareness of our history is most important.