Volume 46 - Article 7 | Pages 179–216  

On the contribution of foreign-born populations to overall population change in Europe: Methodological insights and contemporary evidence for 31 European countries

By Christos Bagavos


Background: Within the context of significant migration flows, persisting low fertility settings, and population ageing in more developed areas, increased focus has been placed on the impact of migration on population change in receiving countries.

Objective: This paper examines the contributions of migrants and natives to population change in 31 European countries for the 2014–2019 period.

Methods: Based on a standardisation method, we provide evidence derived from births, deaths, and net migration for the size and diversity of the contributions to overall population change of the two population groups.

Results: The results show that the foreign-born population has been the driving force behind overall population change in Europe, as this population has attenuated overall population decline; turned the expected population decline into population growth; or, less frequently, accelerated population growth. Additionally, the differences between countries in the indirect effect of the foreign-born population on population change have been driven more by the differences in the population age structure of migrants than by the timing and level of fertility or by the level of mortality among migrants.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the contribution of the foreign-born population to overall population change in Europe has been pronounced and goes far beyond the contribution of net migration, the commonly used indicator for measuring the effect of the foreign-born population on population change.

Contribution: The study provides empirical evidence as regards the increasing importance of foreign-born population for population change in Europe.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

On the multifaceted impact of migration on the fertility of receiving countries: Methodological insights and contemporary evidence for Europe, the United States, and Australia
Volume 41 - Article 1

The compositional effects of education and employment on Greek male and female fertility rates during 2000‒2014
Volume 36 - Article 47

Male fertility in Greece: Trends and differentials by education level and employment status
Volume 31 - Article 6

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