Assessing the Demographic Impact of Migration on the Working Age Population in European Regions

Daniela Ghio, European Commission
Anne Goujon, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Fabrizio Natale, European Commission Joint Research Centre

Ageing is central in the European Union (EU) policy debate, with all Member States being concerned about declining shares of working age populations (WAPs) and sustainability of welfare and health systems. Beyond this context, ageing patterns differ across EU territories because of distinctive demographic dynamics. We study the relative contribution of migration in shaping the WAP at local level. Using Eurostat data from 2015 to 2019, we decompose changes occurred in the working age population into cohort turnover and net migration effects at national and NUTS3 level. Net migration was able to compensate for the deficit in WAPs due to cohort turnover in only 27% of EU-NUTS3 regions, while the majority of EU territories experience negative cohort turnover effects alongside with positive net migration effects during the 2015-19 period. Distinct age patterns of net migration reveal urbanisation dynamics: older cohorts exhibit high propensity to move from urban to rural regions; in contrast, younger cohorts mainly move from rural towards urban regions. Our contribution is twofold. First, we map EU regions where the WAP is declining rapidly. Second, we give an assessment of the role of migration in mitigating the effect of ageing and shrinking WAPs at EU-NUTS3 level.

Keywords: Human capital and labour markets, Population size and growth/decline, Population ageing

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 9. Education, Human Capital and Demography