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Definitive data shows more than 1m UK-born migrants in other EU countries, but 2.6m EU migrants in the UK

01 May 2014

Census data from across the EU have been compiled by the Migration Observatory at Oxford University, and show more than 1 million UK-born people living in other EU countries. However this amounts to less than half the number of EU-born people residing in the UK in the same period.

The pan-EU census data have been compiled by the Migration Observatory from censuses undertaken across the EU in 2011, and include data from all EU member states, with the exception of Belgium and the Netherlands. They show that at least 1,067,362 UK-born people were living in other EU countries in 2011, however the exact number will increase when data from Belgium and the Netherlands become available. Previous analysis suggests that the overall UK born population in Belgium and the Netherlands was close to 70,000, however this relies on outdated information.

In contrast, comparable UK census data (2011) showed an EU-born population of 2,673,395. This suggests that the number of UK-born migrants living in the EU was likely to be less than half the number of EU-born migrants living in the UK.

The data, which are released on the 10th anniversary of EU enlargement in 2004, were provided by Eurostat and the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), and analysed by the Migration Observatory. They provide the most concrete evidence for the number of UK migrants living in the EU, and EU migrants living in the UK, at this time.

They are part of a suite of EU migration analysis being aggregated by the Migration Observatory to inform public debate on the issue ahead of the European Elections on May 22nd.

The Migration Observatory’s EU Hot Topic pages also provides:

  • Maps showing EU migrants in the UK by region, and analysis of migration across EU member states Analysis of the impact of EU law on UK migration issues
  • Analysis of migration flows between the UK and other EU countries
  • Analysis of public opinion and media coverage on EU migration
  • Analysis of social, demographic and economic impacts of EU migration

Dr Scott Blinder, director of the Migration Observatory at Oxford University said: “As well as being a major destination for migrants from the EU, the UK is also among the member states that send the most migrants to other EU countries. Migration is a topic that is likely to affect many people’s voting decisions in the forthcoming EU elections so it is critical that people are as clear as possible about the flows of people between the UK and other EU countries, and the relative sizes of the EU migrant populations in various member states.”


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