I'm looking to use another word in place of "little opportunity," but can't seem to think of one. Any suggestions?
They left the country to escape the little opportunity.
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First, “the little opportunity” is not idiomatic in this context.
I suspect what you meant was “lack of opportunity.”
Second, assuming that was the intended meaning, alternative phrases include “absence of opportunity,” “poor economic prospects,” and “a constrained future” among others.
Third, if you change “escape” to “find” or a similar verb, you can use positive terms to describe what is hoped for such as “greater opportunity” or “happier prospects.”