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Migration continent Europe


  • Tomás Sobotka


This contribution provides a statistical overview of major migration trends and regional differences in Europe and pays special attention to trends in net migration. During the past decades, Europe saw substantial positive migration gains, which accelerated in the early 2000s. There are large regional differences in net migration: southern Europe, and especially Spain, experienced massive immigration in 2000-2008 while many countries in south-eastern, eastern and central Europe registered migration losses. In total, net migration in Europe amounted to 28.4 million in 1980-2008, of which 22.2 million `net migrants' were reported in European Union (EU) countries. In 2000-2009, the EU population gained almost 15 million through net migration. This number is higher than the total for the previous four decades, making the European Union a more important migration destination than the United States during this period. Recent economic recession put a break on net migration gains in most countries, but preliminary data suggest large differences between countries, with some countries reporting stable or slightly increasing net migration in 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Tomás Sobotka, 2009. "Migration continent Europe," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 7(1), pages 217-233.
  • Handle: RePEc:vid:yearbk:v:7:y:2009:i:1:p:217-233

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