Would Sustained Immigration Prevent Long-Run Population Decrease in European Countries?

Nick Parr, Macquarie University

During and following the ‘Great Recession’ the Total Fertility Rate fell in most European countries. 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, most of which are 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 consistently 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.

Keywords: International migration, Population size and growth/decline, Policy

See paper.

  Presented in Session 51. Population Ageing, Population Decline and Migration