Making a Move: Pakistanis Consider Relocating
August 28th, 2013, Aisha Qureshi

Making a Move: Pakistanis Consider Relocating

Due to the unstable conditions in some of the cities/areas in Pakistan, quite a few of Pakistani residents are considering to move out of Pakistan or shift base to a different city.

  • 34% of online respondents are satisfied with the city they currently live in.
  • If given an option to choose amongst cities, 46% of online respondents would like to live in Islamabad.
  • 25% of online respondents stated they are considering or are in the process of moving outside of Pakistan

When online respondents were asked which city they would like to live in Pakistan if they had the option to, almost half of them (46 percent) said they would live in Islamabad while one-fifths chose Lahore followed by just a tenth (11 percent) who chose Karachi. Similarly, when they were asked which country they would like to live in the most, the top choice was Saudi Arabia (stated by one fifth), followed by similar proportion, 13 percent, who stated Australia, Canada, and Pakistan with a tenth (11 percent) who said UAE.

On a positive note, 34 percent of online respondents were satisfied in the city that they live in, with 31 percent aged 30-34, and 29 percent of those above 40 stating the same. Slightly more than half of online respondents (52 percent) in Islamabad said they were satisfied with living in the city, with 45 percent of those in Lahore stating the same. However, almost one-fifth (18 percent) of online respondents said they were dissatisfied with the city currently live in, with almost one-quarter (23 percent) of those aged above 40 stating the same. Levels of dissatisfaction were higher amongst the residents of Karachi (32 percent) as compared to those living in Lahore and Rawalpindi (10 percent) and Islamabad (9 percent).

Half of online respondents had shifted base to a different city in Pakistan with a fifth of them claiming to have moved cities within the past 5 years. Of all online respondents who have shifted cities within Pakistan (51 percent), availability of better job opportunities was cited to be the main reason by almost half (48 percent) of them. Availability of better educational institutions was stated as an important factor by a third (31 percent) of online respondents, with the highest proportion of 42 percent of the younger Pakistanis aged 18-24 stating the same. Better standard of living was also cited to be a factor by 30 percent of online respondents with the highest proportion of 36 percent of those between the age group of 35-39 feeling the same. One-fifth (21 percent) of these stated a safe and secure living important motivated them to move cities.

One-quarter of online respondents expressed they are either considering or are in the process of moving outside of Pakistan. One-third of those aged 30-34 expressed similar views, and almost two-fifths (37 percent) of those in Karachi agreed, followed by nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of those living in Lahore and 16 percent in Islamabad. The top five factors which have motivated people to move out of Pakistan include availability of better job opportunities (55 percent), safe and secure living environment (41 percent), better standard of living (38 percent), opportunity to earn a higher salary (33 percent), and availability of amenities such as electricity, water and gas (25 percent). Among those planning to leave Pakistan, 22 percent said they plan to move to the UAE, followed by 16 percent who said Saudi Arabia, 15 percent who said Australia and 12 percent who stated Canada.


When asked if they voted, 80 percent of online respondents reported they did, particularly those in Lahore (88 percent). Interestingly, thirteen percent of online respondents say they wanted to vote but could not. Among those who did vote, 64 percent of them said they voted for Pakistan Tehreek – e Insaf in comparison to only one-fifth who voted for Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N). Apart from the 17 percent of those in Karachi, none of online respondents from Islamabad, Lahore or Rawalpindi voted for Muttahida Quami Movement. A third of online respondents from Rawalpindi voted for Pakistan Muslim League (N) in comparison to only 5 percent of those in Karachi.

The survey was conducted using the YouGov Online Panel and all questionnaires were completed between the 20th - 27th May 2013. The results are based on a total sample of 1004 respondents currently living in Pakistan. The YouGov panel is broadly representative of the online population within Pakistan.