Trends and Drivers of Immigration Flows to EU.

Erofili Grapsa, JRC, European Commission

This work focuses on investigating the trends of immigration flows to EU28 countries as well as the characteristics of the sending countries from 1960 to 2010 and aims to identify factors specifically associated with migration to EU. A new approach is employed to model the immigration flows using a generalised linear mixed model (GLMM) with a zero-inflation component that accounts for a large number of countries with zero emigration to EU. Several characteristics of the sending and receiving countries are included in the analysis to represent the push and pull factors of immigration to EU: socio-economic, demographic, political, technological and environmental indicators, but also variables describing the relationship between the country of origin and destination.

Contrary to popular belief there is no evidence of increasing immigration to EU. Although Germany, France, Great Britain, Spain and Italy have the highest absolute immigration flows, the immigration rate in smaller countries such as Sweden, Portugal, Greece, Luxemburg, Denmark or Cyprus is rather high reaching 3% of the population of the destination country. On the other hand immigration to certain Eastern European countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Poland) is close to zero. Another common misconception is that most immigrants come from poor countries but evidence from this study shows the contrary: the majority of immigration to EU comes from high and upper middle income countries. Since the characteristics of sending countries differ significantly by income group, the factors significantly associated with emigration to EU28 also vary by country income group. For example, an increase in GDP per capita at origin is significantly associated with a rise in migration to EU from high and low income countries but with a decline in upper middle and lower middle income countries. Urbanisation is linked to increased immigration to EU from all groups but high income countries.


Presented in Session 1120: International Migration and Migrant Populations