- Duration of Syrian Civil War: 5 years, 6 months, approximately
- Number of refugees drowned en route to Europe: 3,502
A single boat crossing on the Mediterranean cost $2,200 per passenger in the summer of 2015, up from an average $1,500 a year earlier, according to refugees’ accounts. For Syrians, as with most migrants seeking asylum, money is scarce; a report by the Syrian Economic Forum showed average monthly income for a citizen of Aleppo was around $80 last year.
So if you're a refugee, you face the prospect of spending as much as two years of your wages for a journey on which 1 of 87 refugees have drowned.
How bad is the economy you're leaving behind? Let's take the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 in the U.S. as a comparison. GDP decreased at an average annual rate of 3.5 percent. Unemployment reached a high of 10 percent in Oct. 2009. In that year, 14.3 percent of the U.S. were living below the poverty line.
In Syria, GDP fell 30 percent in 2013 and another 36 percent in 2014; 82 percent of the population lives below the poverty line; unemployment is at 60 percent. And 2016 looks pretty bleak as well. And that's leaving aside falling bombs, chemical weapons and woefully inadequate medical care. Also connecting with international aid groups takes time, as many Syrians are located in hard to reach areas.
And let’s not forget you are probably a kid. More than 50 percent of refugees are under the age of 18 -- and haven’t had educational access for years; not to mention the added trauma of witnessing extreme violence.
So spending up to two years of your wages and risking your life to get to a safe haven, versus staying in a country where it’s likely you will die a violent death suddenly seems like a remarkably sound decision.