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Eurostat: Immigrants make up 9% of EU population

Coming to the EU from outside the bloc proved as popular as EU citizens moving and becoming citizens of other member states.

(CN) — Five percent of the European Union population — 23.7 million people — are third-country nationals, according to data published by Eurostat on Wednesday. An additional 4% are citizens of EU countries other than the one in which they reside.

In 2020, 3.3 million people immigrated to the EU, a decrease compared to the prior year, while an estimated 2.2 million left the bloc. That same year, 729,0000 immigrants gained EU citizenship while about 92,1000 EU citizens became citizens of another EU member state — i.e., a French national became a citizen of Spain.

Moroccans represented the largest number of new EU citizens in 2020, followed by immigrants from Syria, Albania and Brazil. Spain, Italy and France granted many of these. Romania on the other hand reported it had not granted citizenship to any one from another EU state and to fewer than 2% of its immigrants from outside the EU.

With 10.6 million third-country nationals, Germany reported the highest number of migrants in 2020, followed by Spain with 5.4 million, and Italy and France, which each reported 5.2 million. These four countries represent about 70% of the non-nationals living in the EU.

"Migration is influenced by a combination of economic, environmental, political and social factors: either in a migrant’s country of origin (push factors) or in the country of destination (pull factors),” the statistics agency said in a statement. “Historically, the relative economic prosperity and political stability of the EU are thought to have exerted a considerable pull effect on immigrants."

Some counties also intentionally attract international migration to fill out shortages in the labor market.

In addition to slightly more men migrating to the EU than women, half of new immigrants in 2020 were younger than 30. While the median age of EU citizens sits at 45, the median age for immigrants was 36.

Luxembourg reported the highest percentage of immigrants from other EU countries — 38% of its population is made up of people from other member states, while another 9% immigrated from outside the EU. In addition to having the second highest rate of EU immigrants at 18%, Liechtenstein reported having the highest number of non-EU citizens (16%).

Hungary, Bulgaria and Poland saw the fewest immigrants from outside the EU — all less than 1% — while Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia reported less than 1% of their populations come from other EU states.

The European Commission created a new pact on migration and asylum in September 2020, “setting out a fairer, more European approach to managing migration and asylum.”

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