Eurostat: which countries do immigrants choose more often

Which countries lead in the number of immigrants? Let's look at the statistics!
5 min
September 28, 2023

As of January 1, 2022, there were 23.8 million individuals from non-member countries residing in an EU Member State, accounting for 5.3% of the total EU population. Furthermore, there were 13.7 million individuals living in an EU Member State on January 1, 2022, who were citizens of another EU Member State.

In absolute terms, the largest numbers of non-nationals living in the EU Member States were:

  • Germany –10.9 million
  • Spain – 5.4 million
  • France – 5.3 million
  • Italy – 5 million

Non-nationals in these four Member States collectively represented 71 % of the total number of non-nationals living in the EU, while the same four Member States had a 57.6 % share of the EU's population.

In relative terms, the EU Member State with the highest share of non-nationals on 1 January 2022 was Luxembourg, where non-nationals accounted for 47.1 % of the total population.

A significant percentage of foreign citizens (over 10% of the resident population) was also noted in Malta, Cyprus, Austria, Estonia, Ireland, Germany, Latvia, Belgium, and Spain.

It will be interesting to see how this figure will change by the end of 2023 because Spain is now actively issuing residence permits to digital nomads, drawing a significant flow of today's migrants.

Even though Portugal constantly immigrates natives of former colonies (Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, etc.), which introduced a simplified legalization regime, non-citizens account for only 6.8% of the permanent population.

In contrast, non-nationals accounted for less than 1% of the population in Romania (0.3%) and Croatia (0.9%).

Which countries do EU citizens choose to immigrate to within the Union, and which countries do third-country nationals choose?

As of January 1, 2022, most non-citizens in most EU member states were citizens of non-EU countries.

Only in Luxembourg, Cyprus, Austria, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Slovakia were more than 50% citizens of another EU member state.

In the case of Latvia, the proportion of citizens from non-member countries is particularly large due to the high number of recognised non-citizens (mainly former Soviet Union citizens, who are permanently resident in these countries but have not acquired any other citizenship).

Which Europeans immigrate more often?

Citizens of Romania, Poland, Italy, and Portugal are the largest groups of EU citizens who have chosen to live in another EU member state.

At what age do people immigrate more often?

On January 1, 2022, the median age of the EU national population was 45.4 years, and the median age of non-EU residents was 36.6 years. Amid talk of an aging European population, moving young people brings optimism:)

If you are interested to see other data, see more information in the Eurostat overview on the official website.

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