The effect of Europe’s migrant crisis

I’m sure that you have all heard about the migrant crisis in Europe that is still ongoing. However, last year the numbers of people trekking across the continent and crammed into overcrowded, dangerous boats was staggering.

Now some of the numbers are coming to light of the change in European states’ population make-up over the past year. The Pew Research Center has analysed the change in the percentage of European nations’ population that is “foreign-born”, drawing on UN and Eurostat data.

From July 2015 to May 2016, more than one million people applied for asylum in Europe. (I assume that the data is available only for those migrants who are officially recognised and not those who have “vanished”.)

First off, this number of one million in all of Europe seems low: didn’t over one million claim asylum in Germany alone last year? Perhaps it is down to the time frame…

Anyway, during the time in question, the foreign born populations of four European countries grew at one percent or over: Sweden (an increase of 1.5% to 18.3%); Hungary (1.3% up to 5.8%); Austria (1.1% up to 18.5%); and Norway (1% up to 15.3%).

As the Pew Research Centre notes, this may not seem like a lot, but the immigrant share of the population in the United States grew by one percent over a decade (13% in 2005 to 14% in 2015).

A one percent increase in a single year is rare, particularly in the West. Other significant rises were seen in Finland (up 0.8% to 6.5%), Switzerland (up 0.8% to 30.1%), Belgium (up 0.8% to 13%) and Germany (up 0.7% to 15.6%).

At the other end, five European nations saw the foreign born proportion of their populations decline slightly: Lithuania; Spain; Slovenia; Estonia; and Latvia. Slovenia is interesting since it lies right on the route between the Balkans and Germany; its attempts to shut down its borders were obviously successful.

Apparently many of the foreign born Latin Americans returned home from Spain last year and many of the ageing immigrant community in the Baltic states are starting to die. Continue reading


  • MercatorNet article by Marcus Roberts who has just started a new job teaching contract law at Auckland University.
  • Image: Aljazeera


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News category: Features.

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