Emigration in Europe

Where do Europeans migrate to and how many of them live abroad?


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Map of the emigration from Europe.

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There are plenty of maps and resources about immigration out there. I even did a map about it too. But one thing we hear and see about less, is emigration. How many Europeans live abroad and where do they move to?

The first thing we can see on this map, is the ratio of nationals living abroad. This ratio is highest in Moldova (381), Albania (423), Bosnia & Herzegovina (501) and Monaco (807). Yes, that means that for Bosnia, which had a population of 3.3 million in 2019, 1.65 million nationals live abroad. 30% of all Bosnian nationals live outside of Bosnia.

The emigration rate is lowest in Norway (38), Sweden (34), France (34) and Spain (31). Overall, we can see that the emigration is higher in the eastern half of Europe.

So where do most of these people emigrate to? For almost all European countries, the most popular emigration destination is within Europe. British and Maltese people prefer Australia and Germans and Swedes prefer the US. Germany is clearly the most popular destination for most European nationals. Sweden is quite popular in the Nordic Countries. In several former Soviet states, we see Russia as the most popular destination. These could be Russian people with dual citizenship that moved (back) to Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.

For most countries on this map, less than 10% of all nationals living abroad live in the most popular emigration destination. Micro-states excluded, Albania is the only European country where more than 10% of the Albanians living abroad, live in the most popular destination. Of all Albanian nationals living abroad, 11.7% of them live in Italy.

The rate of nationals living abroad is based of the total number of nationals living abroad. This includes people that have migrated many years ago, not just in 2019. In short, the emigrant population consists of all people with the nationality of that country, that don’t live in that country (e.g., all Irish nationals that don’t live in Ireland). This does however mean that someone without the Irish nationality who has lived in Ireland for many years that then emigrates from Ireland, is not considered an emigrant. This is mainly due to a lack of data.

Obviously, countries with a larger population also tend to have a larger number of nationals living abroad. For that reason, I decided to count the number of people living abroad per 1,000 inhabitants of the country of origin. So, for every 1,000 people living in Ireland (regardless of nationality), 165 people with the Irish nationality live abroad. The UN sadly doesn’t have any data on the number of people living in Ireland with the Irish nationality. Which means that those 1,000 people includes people with residency in Ireland, but not having the Irish nationality.

The data for this map comes from the United Nations International Migrant Stock.

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