Net migration by main components, 2000-2007


Observations for policy

In many European regions demographic growth or decline is strongly influenced by migration flows. This regards both domestic and international migration. Without immigration a vast majority of regions would experience considerable population decline over the next decades. In general, most regions will be able to increase their population figures with immigration from other regions, but some are likely to see their population figures decline because of out-migration. At the same time, immigration can only partly compensate the impacts of ageing and low fertility. Furthermore, the causality between immigration and economic performance is not completely clear and immigration is a short-term measure only and cannot solve long-term demographic challenges.

Policy context

The European policy debate does regularly address how demographic changes present serious challenges for the (territorial) development. Demographic and migratory developments pose challenges belonging to the broad policy context in Europe. The 2012 European Ageing Report of the European Commission shows that priority should be given to the demographic challenges with a new sense of urgency in light of the financial crisis. Both the Territorial Agenda and the Europe 2020 strategy address these issues concerning demographic challenges.

Migration tends to accentuate already existing attraction trends which imply considerable challenges for some European regions when it comes to issues such as ageing, labour market participation by older workers and shrinking populations.

Map interpretation

Internal and international migration varies considerably from region to region in Europe. In approximately 75 per cent of the European regions migration balance was positive for the period 2000-2007, and 40 per cent of all regions experienced both a positive internal and international migration. Despite that, one-third of regions in Europe show that the positive international migration has been compensated by negative internal migration.

Migration trends in Europe show a clear East-West divide. A negative migration balance is mainly observed in Eastern Europe (Poland, Bulgaria and Romania) and some scattered regions in North-East France and in the UK. Most of the capital regions in Europe, being main economic drivers are attractive places for both internal and international migration. In particular capital regions in Romania, Poland and Bulgaria stand out in relation other regions in these countries and appear to be attractive places for migrants.

Concepts and methods

Population change through migration consists of two different components which have been assessed for the period 2000-2007: