Emigration Pattern among Medical and Non-medical Iranian Elite and Its Associated Factors: A Review of Literature

Document Type : Review Article


1 MSc in Clinical Psychology, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

2 Associate Professor of Pediatric Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Bushehr, Iran.

3 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Firoozabad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Firoozabad, Iran.



Background: The phenomenon of elite migration from developing countries to developed countries has various causes. This study aims to review the causes of the emigration of medical and non-medical Iranian elites and the associated factors.
Materials and Methods: In this review, online databases (Medline, Scopus, Web of Science, ERIC, ProQuest, CIVILICA, and Google Scholar search engine) were searched in both English and Persian up to March 2023, using combinations of keywords (e.g., medical students, non-medical students, brain drain, developed country, migration, elite, developing country), and their Persian equivalents.
Results: The tendency to emigrate among non-medical students was 56%. Men, people aged 31-40, graduate students, married people, those dissatisfied with income, and individuals of high socio-economic status had a higher tendency to emigrate. The tendency to emigrate had an inverse correlation with the four dimensions of origin and destination conditions (economic, political, social, and cultural). The most important factors affecting the migration of non-medical students were cultural, economic, occupational, and socio-political factors (p<0.05). The tendency to emigrate among medical students was 6.13±2.82 out of 10. There was a significant relationship between willingness to emigrate and variables of gender, pre-university study region, parental academic degree, having a relative/friend abroad, foreign trip experience, foreign language skills, number of published articles, and Iran’s National Elite Foundation membership (p<0.05). The most important factors affecting the emigration of specialists and medical sciences students were economic, structural, occupational, personal, and socio-political factors.
Conclusion: The tendency to emigrate among elites is high. The strategies for maintaining the elite and specialists should focus on economic factors and employment opportunities related to the field of study and supporting the continuation of education.