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32 million foreigners living in the 27 EU States last year

The biggest driver of population growth in most EU Member States in recent years has been immigration. In fact, between 2004 and 2008, 3 to 4 million immigrants settled in the each year. This is according to the third Demography Report just published by the EU.

In total, in 2010, there were 32.4 million foreigners living in an EU27 Member State which amounts to 6.5% of the total EU population of about half a billion. However, 12.3 million were EU27 nationals living in another Member State, given that all EU nationals have the freedom to work anywhere within the Union. This meant that 20.1 million were citizens from a non-EU27 country.

The largest number of foreign citizens in 2010 were recorded in Germany (7.1m), Spain (5.7m), the UK (4.4m), Italy (4.2m) and France (3.8m), with these five countries accounting for almost 80% of all foreign citizens living in the EU.

Nearly 7% of the total EU population is made up of people who were not born in the EU country in which they are now living.

Although immigration has brought problems in some parts of the EU, it has certainly helped to increase the fertility rate. There was a sharp drop in the fertility rate between 1980 and the early 2000s, but it started to increase again in the EU 27 in 2003. It stood then at 1.47 children per woman, and reached a level of 1.60 in 2008.

In 2009, the Member States with the highest fertility rates were Ireland (2.07), France (2.00), the UK (1.96 in 2008) and Sweden (1.94). These all came close to the replacement level of 2.1. This is where the replacement level is defined as the average number of children per woman needed to keep the population size constant in the absence of migration flows.

Finally, the report had good news on life expectancy if you live in the EU. Over the past 50 years, life expectancy at birth in the EU27 has increased by about 10 years for both men and women, to reach 82.4 years for women and 76.4 years for men. What is even more interesting, for those of us who are further along the spectrum from birth to death, is that even having reached the age of 65, women in the EU 27 can expect to live an additional 20.7 years and men an additional 17.2 years.

I was just reading this morning that one in six of the existing UK population can expect to live until they reach their 100th birthday. While this appears to be good news for those of us who enjoy being alive, it is not without its problems. Already, the UK government is busy pushing back the retirement age because of the costs of provision for such a rapidly ageing population. We have also seen a strong growth of those people in the labour force who are working beyond the statutory retirement age.

So while we can expect to live longer, we can also expect to work longer as well. And, if the appropriate pensions and savings schemes are not in place, we can expect to be poorer too! 

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Posted in Demographics, European Union, Immigration, Population

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