Europe is home to 33 million expats


Expats in Europe add up to a massive influx of 33 million people who have switched countries or who have come to live and work in the European Union from elsewhere.

Expats account for 6.6% of the EU’s population – with 12.8 million switching EU countries and 20.5 million moving to the EU.

The countries with the largest numbers of expats are Germany (7.2 million or 9% of the population), Spain (5.7 million/ 12%), Italy (4.6 million/ 8%), the United Kingdom (4.5 million/ 7%) and France (3.8 million/ 6%).

More than 75% of all expats in the EU live in one of these five countries, according to the report on migration in the european Union issued by the official EU statistics organisation Eurostat.

However, the countries with the largest proportion of expats are Luxembourg (43%) and Cyprus (20%). Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia have the fewest – amounting to less than 2% of the populations.

In 2011, 48.9 million foreign-born people lived in the EU, with 16.5 million born in another EU country other than the one in which they lived (3.3% of the EU population) and 32.4 million born in a country outside the EU (6.4% of the EU population).

Expats accounted for 9.7% of the total population of the EU. The number of foreign-born people exceeded the number of foreign citizens in almost every country.

“Data on foreign citizens provide useful information on the part of the population with a foreign background,” said the Eurostat report.

“However, since citizenship can change over time, it is interesting to complement this information with data on the foreign-born population. This provides supplementary information as it includes foreign citizens who have acquired the citizenship of the country of residence, but who were born abroad.

“It also includes nationals born abroad or nationals born in a part of a state which, due to dissolution or border changes, no longer belongs to the same country.”

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