Study: Mass Migration Nearly The Sole Driver of European Population Growth


A new study from Austria has contended that not only is mass migration a large driver of population growth in Europe, but it may be close to being the sole driver, as native birthrates stagnate or decline.

The study, conducted by the researchers at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) and the Vienna Wittgenstein Center, looked at European population trends from between 1990 and 2017, and found that almost all population growth in Western Europe was driven by migration, Kronen Zeitung reports.

“Migration movements have become the driving force behind growth and decline of the population of Europe,” ÖAW demographer Tomas Sobotka said.

Only two Western European countries, Ireland and France, saw population growth due to births rather than mass migration, but more recent reports have shown the French birthrate in decline for the past three years.

In both Germany and Italy population growth was solely due to mass migration, as the birth rates of both countries did not match replacement rates.

Germany has seen such a massive influx of migrants in recent years that some estimate that as many as 1 in 5 residents comes from a foreign background.

Almost all of the Balkan states, barring Slovenia, saw a population decline, which has been attributed to residents leaving the country to find work in Western Europe.

Central and Eastern Europe countries have largely decided against growing their populations through mass migration, opting to support local people to have families instead.

In February of last year, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán did offer to take in migrants, but not from the Middle East, Asia or North Africa.

Instead, Orbán extended open arms to Western Europeans, saying: “We shall let in true refugees. Germans, Dutch, French and Italians, terrified politicians and journalists who here in Hungary want to find the Europe they have lost in their homelands.”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 


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