Patterns of Migration in the European Union

Patterns of Migration in the European Union

March 13, 2019

Working Paper

This working paper aims to map the patterns and dynamics of migration within the EU of individuals of EU28 origin as well as those from outside the region. The descriptive analysis is based on existing data, largely drawn from Eurostat’s online database on population statistics. This data allows the mapping of intra EU-migration patterns and dynamics during the last four years. As well as analysing EU28-wide stocks and flows, the paper zooms in to explore intra-EU migration for five of the key migration countries within the EU28: Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

One of the key findings is that, when analysing migration trends, metrics matter, as different metrics often tell different stories. For example, the total number of intra-EU migrants is consistently higher when using the country of birth metric than when using the citizenship metric. Likewise, it matters whether stocks are looked at in absolute numbers or in relation to the native or total population. The authors also find that focusing on stock data alone tends to give an incomplete picture of the patterns and dynamics of intra-EU migration. Once flow data is taken into account, we see that many more people move between member states each year than the stock figures suggest. Additional analysis of country-to-country flow corridors reveals a high rate of return and, likely, circular migration, especially of Romanian citizens and natives.

Accompanying the paper are Appendix A and Appendix B, which provide access to the data used by the researchers.

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