More foreign born people now living in the European Union

by Ray Clancy on July 12, 2012

Increasing numbers of non EU expats are living in the EU member states

There are more non European Union expats living in member states than EU expats, the latest date from Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office shows.

Non EU citizens made up 4.1% of the population and EU citizens living in another Member State accounted for 2.5% and nearly 50 million foreign-born people lived in the EU Member States in 2011.

Overall 33.3 million foreign citizens lived in the EU’s 27 Member States, accounting for 6.6% of the population. This foreign population was made up of 12.8 million EU citizens living in another Member State and 20.5 million non EU citizens.

The largest numbers of foreign citizens were living in Germany which has 7.2 million expats, or 9% of the total EU population. Spain was next with 5.7 million expats, Italy has 4.6 million, the United Kingdom 4.5 million or 7% and France 3.8 million.

Among the EU 27 Member States, the highest proportion of foreign citizens in the population was found in Luxembourg with expats accounting for 43% of the total population, followed by Cyprus at 20%, Latvia at 17% and Estonia at 16%. The percentage of foreign citizens was less than 2% in Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia.

Luxembourg also had the highest proportion of foreign EU citizens, making up 37% of the total population, followed by Cyprus at 13%, Belgium and Ireland both at 7%, Spain at 5% and Austria at 4%.

Eurostat said that data on foreign citizens provide useful information on the part of the population with a foreign background. However, since citizenship can change over time, it is interesting to complement this information with data on the foreign born population.

This provides supplementary information as it includes foreign citizens who have acquired the citizenship of the country of residence, but who were born abroad. It also includes nationals born abroad, for example in the territory of a former colony, or nationals born in a part of a state which, due to dissolution or border changes, no longer belongs to the same country.

In 2011, there were 48.9 million foreign born people living in the EU 27 Member States, with 16.5 million born in another Member State than the one in which they live, that is 3.3% of the EU population, and 32.4 million born in a country outside the EU27, some 6.4% of the EU population.

In total, foreign born people accounted for 9.7% of the total population of the EU 27. The number of foreign born people exceeded the number of foreign citizens in almost all Member States.

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