About 8,000 or 40% of Palau’s population have migrated out since Palau adopted the Compact of Free Association with the United States in 1994. The study by the USA Graduate School of Economics predicts that additional 2,000 people will leave by the year 2024.
Given the impact of COVID-19, the trend seems to follow the predictions. With 2,000 more expected to depart Palau to seek a better life in the United States, Palau stands to lose half of its population.
“Security is not just about ships, airplanes or bombs, it is also people. It is in the best interest of Palau and the United States if most of the people living in Palau are Palauans.”, expressed Whipps on the growing outmigration.
Economic security ensures that people stay home, and this, Whipps said, is the point that he had pushed in their discussions with the United States.
The Compact of Free Association with the United States allows Palauan citizens to live and work in the United States without a visa. The provision is reciprocal with US citizens in Palau.