With official data stating over 330,000 Moldovans working abroad, unofficially it may even be up to a million people.
Moldova is fast gaining a reputation as the world's fastest shrinking country.
An estimated 21 per cent of Moldovan children under 18 have at least one biological parent living abroad, while for 5 per cent of children, both biological parents have emigrated.
This mass exodus of adults, combined with declining birth rates, has earned Moldova the title of the fastest shrinking country in the world.
The exodus is purely driven by the need to work and earn money. The majority of work in Moldova is in farming and agriculture, predominantly subsistence farming, which means many parents seek work abroad.
The chart below shows the scale of this exodus:
For the children who can afford it, having a mobile phone connected to the internet is their way of staying in contact with their parents working abroad. Even in remote villages broadband seems to be more and more available to Moldovans. This does appear to be a god-send and with so many parents working abroad it's become the new norm – digitally communicating with parents.
Whereas with even poorer families, the children do not get the chance to communicate with their parents. And with the declining birth rate (see above chart) – this all raises serious questions for long-term sustainability.
From a report for 2009 - 2014 the following two charts tell their own story:
And if remittances were not being sent back by parents working abroad: