Immigration and the Prevention of Long-Run Population Decrease in Europe

Nick Parr , Macquarie University

Between 2009 and 2018 the Total Fertility Rate fell in most European countries, and in 2018 it was below replacement level throughout Europe. In the same year net migration was positive in two-thirds of European countries. This paper examines whether sustained net immigration at current levels would be sufficient to prevent long-run population decrease. The results show that in several countries, mostly those located in northern or north-western Europe, net migration level has been consistently above ‘replacement level’: sustained constant net migration amount, and fertility and mortality rates would build a larger than current population. In contrast, for Italy and for all the Eastern European countries covered net migration has been below replacement level. Finland, Norway and Switzerland are shown to have recently developed population decrease-promoting fertility-mortality-net migration combinations. However, the importance of net migration reduction and other changes, including fertility reduction, to the reversal of the long-run growth prospect differs from country-to-country. In contrast, the implication of constant fertility, mortality and net migration for Germany is shown to have changed from long-run population decrease to long-run zero growth. The feasibility of preventing long-run population decrease through change to net migration is discussed.

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 Presented in Session 79. Trends and patterns in international migration