x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Arab Youth Survey includes Palestine for the first time

The Arab Youth Survey, which took place in December and January, is thought to be the largest ever survey conducted in the Middle East.

DUBAI // It was a mammoth effort: on footpaths and public squares in scores of towns and cities across 16 countries, about 3,500 people were interviewed by close to as many researchers.

The Arab Youth Survey, which took place in December and January, is thought to be the largest survey conducted in the Middle East and was released by ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, a communications company.

At the centre of it, coordinating a small army of pollsters, was Jay Leveton, chief executive of New York-based research firm Penn Schoen Berland.

“It has been a huge effort and required a great deal of planning and preparation,” said Mr Leveton.

The firm hired third-party polling firms in each of the 16 countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Tunisia, Algeria, Palestine, Morocco and Yemen.

There were about 200 respondents from most of the countries, apart from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, where there were 300.

There were 250 in Iraq and 150 in Palestine.

In the UAE, only three emirates were surveyed – 40 per cent in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and 20 per cent in Sharjah.

The number of Arab youth aged between 16 and 24, the target market, is about 200 million across the Arab region.

Mr Leveton said that because the company took pains to achieve a random, representative sample from different geographical regions and different socio-economic classes, the margin of error was very small.

The survey took the form of 22 screening questions, to determine the individual’s status, age and nationality and 250 questions.

The survey was conducted in the form of a 30-minute face to face interview, as internet penetration, particularly in countries like Iraq, is still very low.

The gender split of the survey is 50:50 male to female.

He said that although the sample from the UAE respondents – 300 – was relatively low compared with the local population it was a good barometer.

“It gives you a good sense of what people are thinking,” he said. “Could you do more in more detail locally? Absolutely.”

mcroucher@thenational.ae