Fewer, older and multicultural? A projection of the populations of the European Union member states by foreign/national background
Giampaolo Lanzieri, Eurostat
Since several years, migration has been the main driver of population growth in many European countries. In some of them, where the natural growth had become negative, migration has even counterbalanced an otherwise declining population, sustaining the continuation of their population growth. The persistence of these trends may have relevant developments in the long term, especially for those countries characterised by low fertility. Some analyses on the impact of future trends of migration have been made on few countries, mainly using the country of citizenship to identify the foreign background; however, it is well known that such classification (unlike the one based on the country of birth) is affected by the naturalisation processes. Moreover, looking only at the population totals may be not sufficient, as the typically younger migrants' age profile impacts especially on some age classes of the hosting populations. Although generally the rise of the share of foreign-born persons in particular age classes is not yet very visible, it is likely it will become much more relevant in the future. In order to make a comparative analysis of the extent the single European countries may be affected by this age-specific migration effect, population projections by national/foreign background are developed for each Member State of the European Union, building a fully comparable and comprehensive dataset for migration analysis in a given future scenario. These projections, nested in the Eurostat Population Projections 2008-based (EUROPOP2008), provide a classification of the populations based on the concept of country of birth and their analysis by age group offers useful elements about the age differentials of the migration contribution to the population change.