Chapter 2. Composition of immigrant populations and households

The societies of countries in the OECD and the European Union have been shaped by successive waves of immigration. Their scale and composition vary widely across countries. A number of socio-demographic factors drive integration outcomes. They include age, gender, family structure, living conditions, and geographical concentration. In addition to such factors, which also apply to the native-born, there are certain immigrant-specific determinants like category of entry, duration of stay, and region of origin. A grasp of how they differ from country to country and how immigrants compare to the native-born is a prerequisite for understanding integration outcomes.

Reasons for emigrating have a particularly strong bearing on economic integration. Most labour migrants, for example, have a job waiting for them on arrival, which is generally not the case for family and humanitarian migrants. An immigrant’s country of origin also matters, as the standard of its education system and how its labour market operates may impact the integration outcome in the host country. Another important factor is how long immigrants have lived in the host country, since integration takes place over time. It takes time, for example, to learn the host-country language, to understand how the host country’s labour market and public services function, just as it takes time to build networks.

This chapter starts by looking at the sizes of immigrant populations (Indicator 2.1) and their geographical concentration (Indicator 2.2). It then considers their age- and gender-related composition (Indicator 2.3) as well as differences in fertility and partnership practices by country of birth (Indicator 2.4). The chapter then analyses the foreign-/ native-born balance of households (Indicator 2.5) and their family make-up (Indicator 2.6). The chapter then addresses key immigrant-specific factors, such as the composition of immigration flows by category of migration (Indicator 2.7), length of stay, and the regions of origin of the immigrant population resident in the European Union (Indicator 2.8).

    

Key findings

  • The OECD is home to around 128 million immigrants, over 10% of its population. Around 58 million foreign-born residents live in the EU – 11.5% of its population. Around two-thirds are from non-EU countries.

  • Over the last decade, the immigrant population has increased by 23% in the OECD and by 28% in the EU – respective rises of 1.5 and 2.5 percentage points relative to the total populations of the two areas.

  • Norway and Malta have seen at least a doubling in their number of foreign-born residents over the past 10 years; the foreign-born population in Poland has quadrupled over the last decade though their share in the total population remains low.

  • Migrant populations are not evenly distributed between regions within countries. Variations in regional distributions tend to be greater in countries where immigrants account for high shares of the total population, such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

  • Immigrants are more heavily concentrated in capital and urban regions than their native-born peers. In Europe, populations of non-EU migrants have a greater tendency than their EU peers to congregate in these areas. The increase in immigrant populations over the past decade was more pronounced in urban regions.

  • In both the OECD and the EU, around 80% of the foreign-born are of working age (15 to 64 years old), well above the 64% of the native-born. In Mexico and Romania, by contrast, over 40% of the immigrant population is under 15 years old – often the offspring of returning migrants.

  • The dependency ratio of immigrants is less than half that of the native-born in about half of countries. Differences are especially acute in Southern European countries and in Nordic countries. The sole country where dependency ratios are similar in both groups is the United States.

  • While almost 90% of the native-born cohabit with someone of the same origin, two-thirds of immigrants do.

  • The total fertility rate among immigrants is almost 1.9 children per woman in both the OECD and the EU – 0.25 more children on average than among native-born women in OECD countries and 0.35 more than in the EU.

  • Across the OECD, 14.5% of all households are headed by at least one immigrant.

  • Immigrant households are slightly larger than native-born ones in most OECD and EU countries.

  • Families account for one-third of immigrant households in the OECD but only a quarter of native-born ones. In the EU, however, single-person arrangements account for 38.5% of immigrant households, making them the most widespread form, particularly in longstanding immigration countries.

  • In 2016, OECD countries received 5 million permanent immigrants. The number was 2.8 million in the EU. In both 2015 and 2016, newly permanent immigration inflows accounted for 0.4% of the OECD’s total population and 0.6% of the EU’s.

  • OECD-wide, inflows over the last 12 years have been dominated by family migration (36%), free movement (28%), and labour migration, (14%). Despite recent strong increases in some countries, humanitarian migrants have accounted for less than 10% of all permanent inflows to the OECD and the EU in the last 12 years. Nevertheless, almost 30% of immigrants settled in Sweden since 2005 were humanitarian migrants.

  • The intra-EU movement of labour and people from other EU countries has driven almost half of all permanent flows in the EU over the last 12 years.

  • Compared with the average figures during the 2005-14 period, inflows as a percentage of the population tripled in Germany and doubled in Austria in 2015-16. Rates also increased significantly in Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. Permanent immigration to the countries of Southern Europe, by contrast, has almost halved.

  • Over two-thirds of immigrants in the OECD and EU have lived in their host country for at least 10 years, while 17% have been residents for up to five years.

  • More than half of the foreign-born in the EU originate from other European countries – over 30% from countries in the EU and around 20% from outside the EU.

  • In OECD countries outside Europe, the foreign-born come chiefly from Asia or countries of origin that neighbour host countries. Over 50% of the migrant population in the United States, for instance, was born in Latin America and the Caribbean. In Australia and Canada, around half of the immigrant population is Asian-born.

2.1. Size of the immigrant population

Definition

The immigrant population is taken to be all people born outside the country in which they are resident. They may also be referred to as “the foreign-born”.

Coverage

Total populations, foreign- and native-born, all ages.

The OECD is home to around 128 million immigrants, who account for over 10% of its population. Over the last decade, the immigrant population has increased by 23% in the OECD and by 28% in the EU – respective rises of 1.5 and 2.5 percentage points relative to the total populations of the two areas. Around 58 million foreign-born residents live in the EU – 11.5% of its population. Around two-thirds are from non-EU countries. Over one-third of immigrants in the OECD live in the United States, where they make up almost 14% of the population. Luxembourg is the country with the highest share of foreign-born – over 46% of its population. In numerical terms, Germany is Europe’s largest immigrant host country, being home to 22% of all the foreign-born living in the EU. Next comes the United Kingdom with 16%, France with 14%, then Italy and Spain with around 10% each.

In the settlement countries which have long operated a policy of large-scale, managed migration programmes – i.e. Australia, Canada, and New Zealand – immigrants represent more than one-fifth of their populations. Most Asian, Latin American and Central European OECD countries, by contrast, have small immigrant populations. Across eight countries in those regions, an average of less than 3% of the population is foreign-born.

The foreign-born share of populations has increased in virtually all OECD countries over the past decade. The only exceptions are Israel and the Baltic states, where the ageing of the foreign-born has not been offset by new arrivals. In the case of Israel, its fertility rate – one of the highest in the OECD – has also been a factor in the decline of the foreign-born as a share of the total population. In the five countries hosting the largest numbers of immigrants in absolute terms (the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Canada), the foreign-born population has increased by more than 10% over the last decade – a rise of at least 1 percentage point relative to the total population of the five countries. In the United Kingdom, the increase has been as high as 60% (5 percentage points).

The free movement of people within the EU/EFTA has been a key driver of the growth in the foreign-born population, especially in the context of enlargements of the EU in the 2000s. Another, albeit lesser, factor has also been at play – recent inflows of humanitarian migrants. Norway, for instance, which has been affected by the two factors, has seen an increase of over 6 percentage points in the foreign-born share of its population and a doubling in its number over the past 10 years. As for Malta, the increase has been even steeper. Another country to have experienced a steep increase in its foreign-born population is Poland. It has quadrupled over the last decade, in recent years particularly, due to large immigrant inflows from Ukraine. Nevertheless, the foreign-born still account for only 4% of the Polish population. The trend in Spain and Italy, however, has been different. They saw sharp increases in their foreign-born population in the boom years at the turn of the century. Since the crisis, however, inflows have dwindled and a certain outflow has been observed. As a result, shares of immigrants are much the same as 10 years ago in both countries’ populations.

Figure 2.1. Foreign-born shares of populations
Shares as percentage of total populations, 2006 and 2017
picture

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842280

Figure 2.2. Distribution of the foreign-born population, by host country
Foreign-born populations as percentage of total populations, 2006 (inner ring of circle) and 2017 (outer ring)
picture

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842299

Notes and sources are to be found at the end of the chapter.

2.2. Regional distribution

Definition

Concentrations of immigrant populations vary from region to region within countries. Variations in their regional distribution are expressed as the range between the highest and the lowest regional share of immigrants in the population in a country. Regions are defined in accordance with Level 2 in the NUTS 2016 classification of regions.

Coverage

Total populations (all ages). Except for comparisons of 2005 and 2015, where coverage applies to populations aged 15 and over.

Migrant populations are not evenly distributed between regions within countries. In Australia, Belgium, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, differences between the regions with the highest and lowest concentrations of migrants exceed 20 percentage points. Belgium has the widest gap, where 42% of the population in the Brussels-Capital region is foreign-born, compared with only 6% in Western Flanders.

Variations in regional distributions of immigrants tend to be greater in countries where immigrants account for high shares of the total population. Indeed, in the ten countries with the widest regional disparities, the foreign-born share of the total populations is above that of the OECD as a whole. The only notable exception is Ireland. Although immigrants make up a large proportion of its population, there is very little disparity between regions in concentrations of the foreign-born.

Immigrants are more heavily concentrated in capital and urban regions than their native-born peers. In Europe, the regions where they constitute the largest shares of the population are overwhelmingly capital-city regions. The only countries that are exceptions to that rule are Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland and Switzerland.

In Europe, populations of non-EU migrants have a greater tendency than their EU peers to congregate in particular areas. In other words, regional differences are generally wider among non-EU than EU mobile nationals – partly due to the heavier concentrations of non-EU migrants in capital-city areas. While such areas boast the highest shares of non-EU nationals in their populations (everywhere but Italy, Spain, Poland and Switzerland), this is less the case for migrants born in other EU countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, there is a 24-point gap between Greater London and Northern Ireland in the non-EU migrants shares of the two regions’ populations, while it is less than 10 points when it comes to EU national populations.

Across the OECD, regions with large proportions of highly educated natives usually boast similar proportions of highly educated immigrants. The inference is that the highly educated foreign-born tend to locate in the same regions as their native-born peers. The same pattern is not observed among the foreign- and native-born with low levels of education. The regions with the greatest numbers and shares of highly educated migrants, are found in Northern Europe, Australia and Canada.

The immigrant shares of most OECD regions’ populations either increased or remained stable between 2005 and 2015. They rose most steeply in regions with high levels of development and large foreign-born populations. In most countries, the increase was more pronounced in urban regions, particularly so in Norway. In Canada, France, Portugal, Spain and the United States, by contrast, the rise in shares of the foreign-born was largest in rural and intermediate regions, though not always by a large extent.

Figure 2.3. Disparities between regional foreign-born shares
Regional foreign-born shares as percentages of total regional populations, 2014-15
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842318

Figure 2.4. How shares of immigrants in mostly rural and urban regions have evolved
Changes in percentage points in populations aged 15 and over, 2005 to 2015
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842337

Notes and sources are to be found at the end of the chapter.

2.3. Age

Definition

This section considers the composition of immigrant populations by age. The dependency ratio is the number of non-working age individuals (aged under 15 and over 64) divided by the number of working-age individuals (15-64 years old).

Coverage

Total populations (all ages).

In the OECD and the EU, around 80% of the foreign-born are of working age (15 to 64 years old), well above the 64% of the native-born. They are even more present in the primary working age bracket (25 to 54 years old). In Southern Europe, which took in large numbers of labour migrants prior to the economic crisis, 90% are of working age.

Around 6% of immigrants are children under the age of 15, compared with 19% of the native-born in the OECD and 17% in the EU. The underrepresentation of immigrant children is probably attributable to the fact that immigrants are more likely to have children once they have settled. These children are thus native-born. Immigrants under 15 years of age are fewest in the longstanding migrant destinations of Europe and in Central and Eastern European countries whose foreign-born populations have been shaped by border changes.

Overall, there are more people aged 65 and over among native- than foreign-born populations – the proportions in the OECD are 17% and 15%. Indeed, this is the case in two-thirds of EU and OECD countries, and particularly so in the EU taken on its own. Longstanding European immigration destinations and Central and Eastern European countries have larger shares of older foreign-born populations than other OECD and EU countries. In France and Germany, for example, over 20% of migrants are aged 65 or older. Shares are even higher in many Central European and Baltic countries, such as Poland and Estonia, where over 40% of the foreign-born population is over 65.

In some emerging destination countries, recent migrant inflows include relatively large shares of children. In Mexico and Romania, for example, over 40% of the immigrant population is under 15 years old – often the offspring of returning migrants. In the wake of the 2008 economic crisis, many emigrants chose to return to their home country, taking with them their children born in the host country where they had settled.

The dependency ratio of immigrants is lower than that of the native-born, even when it includes their native-born children. In about half of countries, immigrant dependency ratios are less than half those of the native-born. Differences are especially acute in the Southern European countries that experienced large labour migrant inflows prior to the economic crisis. They are also wide in Nordic countries, such as Finland and Denmark. Only in a handful of countries with a high incidence of older immigrants, as in the Baltic countries, do foreign-born populations have significantly higher dependency ratios than their native peers. The sole country where dependency ratios are similar in both groups is the United States. While old-age dependency is greater among the native-born, the child-related dependency ratio is higher among the foreign-born.

Figure 2.5. Age composition
Age groups as percentage of total populations, 2015-16
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842356

Figure 2.6. Dependency ratios
Ratios as percentage, 2016
picture

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842375

Notes and sources are to be found at the end of the chapter.

2.4. Endogamous partnership and fertility

Definition

The endogamous partnership rate is the share of individuals cohabiting with a person of the same region of origin. A region of origin is a geographical grouping of countries of birth or, in the case of the native-born, the parents’ country of birth. A person born in a given group of countries, and living with a partner of whom at least one parent was born in the same group of countries, is considered endogamous.

The total fertility rate (TFR) is the number of births per woman. It is calculated as the number of children that would be born alive to a woman during her lifetime if she were to spend her childbearing years bearing children in accordance with the age- and group-specific fertility rates of a given year. The TFR is estimated from the number of under-fives declared by respondents in the course of household surveys, then matched with the official TFR drawn from birth registers. The TFR presented here may include children under five born abroad. It may, therefore, not be fully consistent with administrative data.

Coverage

For endogamous partnerships: all persons over 15 years old who report that they are cohabiting. For fertility rates: all women aged 15 to 49 years old, the “childbearing” years.

Most cohabiting individuals – immigrants and natives alike – are endogamous EU- and OECD-wide. Almost 90% of the native-born cohabit with someone of the same origin. The respective share among immigrants is two-third. Native-born are most likely to live with persons of the same origin in countries of Southern Europe, where many foreign-born are recently arrived, as well as in Central Europe, where the foreign-born population is relatively small and old. By contrast, with an endogamy rate below 80%, native-born couples are more diverse in countries where many children are the native-born offspring of immigrants, such as Latvia, Estonia, and longstanding immigration countries, especially in France, Israel and Luxembourg. In the latter two countries, immigrants are actually more endogamous than the native-born. Greece, Italy, Spain and, to a lesser extent, Canada, are the countries with the highest endogamy rates among both the native- and foreign-born.

The total fertility rate (TFR) among immigrants is almost 1.9 children per woman in both the OECD and the EU – 0.25 more children on average than among native-born woman in OECD countries and 0.35 more in the EU. Foreign-born women have more children on average than their native-born peers in three out of five countries. Belgium, France and Lithuania have the highest estimated immigrant TFRs (at least 2.2 children per woman) – 0.6 children more than the native-born. The gap is also wide in a number of countries where native-born fertility is very low, such as in Spain and Croatia. Total fertility rates among the foreign- and native-born, by contrast, are very similar in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The native-born have actually more children in parts of Central and Eastern Europe and the Oceanian OECD countries. In Israel, they have twice as many children as the foreign-born.

Figure 2.7. Endogamous partnership rates
Rates as percentage of populations aged 15 and above, 2016
picture

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842394

Figure 2.8. Total fertility rates
Number of births per woman, 15- to 49-year-olds, 2012-16
picture

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842413

Notes and sources are to be found at the end of the chapter.

2.5. Immigrant households

Definition

An immigrant household is defined as a group of persons who usually share the same dwelling, where – looser definition – at least one head of household (also called responsible person) is an immigrant or – strict definition – all the heads of the household are immigrants. Up to two people can be household heads, but definitions thereof may vary from one country to another. The stricter definition applies in this publication, unless otherwise stated. The average size of households includes all occupants in the dwelling and is calculated for entirely immigrant and entirely native-born households. It thus excludes mixed households. There are no data on immigrant households in Japan or Turkey.

Coverage

Households with at least one head of household over the age of 15.

Across the OECD, 14.5% of all households are headed by at least one immigrant. In three-quarters of such households (which account for 10.5% of the total number), all heads are immigrants. The share of immigrant households in the EU is somewhat lower: 13% of all households are headed by at least one immigrant and immigrants are the sole heads of 9%. Among the latter, two-thirds are made up by non-EU foreign-born and one-third by EU migrants. There are very few households headed by one EU and one non-EU migrant. In Australia, Israel and New Zealand, up to 40% are headed by at least one immigrant. Luxembourg and Switzerland – both longstanding immigration destinations that do host many intra-EU migrants – have the highest shares of immigrant households in Europe (mainly from EU countries). At least one immigrant heads half of all households in Luxembourg and one-third in Switzerland. As for Austria, Ireland and Sweden, the rate is one in five. Estonia and Latvia, too, have high shares of immigrant households, especially ones where immigrants are the sole heads. Immigrant households account for less than 5% of the total number, however, in most Central European countries (e.g. Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic), in Latin American OECD countries like Mexico and Chile, and in Korea.

Mixed households – where one head is foreign-born and the other native – make up 4% of households in both the OECD and the EU. In half of them in the EU, the immigrant head is born in a third country. Mixed households are most widespread in the settlement countries, particularly Australia and Israel, where around one household in seven is mixed. The figure exceeds 6% in Ireland, Sweden and longstanding European immigration countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. As for the United States, 5% of households are mixed. The share is, however, particularly low in emerging destination countries such as Mexico, Chile, Poland, as well as in Denmark.

Immigrant households are slightly larger than native-born ones in most OECD and EU countries. The OECD foreign-born household size is 2.7 people, compared with 2.4 in native-born households. In the EU, the difference is smaller with figures being 2.4 members in foreign- and 2.3 in native-born households (notably due to large share of single-person migrant household, see Indicator 2.6). Immigrant households are larger in Greece, Luxembourg, Canada and the United States, by no less than 0.5 persons. However, native-born households are larger in two-fifths of countries, such as Israel, Latin American OECD countries, and most Central and Eastern European countries. As the presence of children widely determines the size of a household, households tend to be smaller in countries where their members are older. Most striking examples are immigrant households in Poland and the Baltic countries.

Figure 2.9. Households headed by immigrants
Percentages of households, 2016
picture

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842432

Figure 2.10. Household sizes
Average number of persons in solely immigrant and native-born households, 2016
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842451

Notes and sources are to be found at the end of the chapter.

2.6. Household composition

Definition

This indicator identifies four types of households depending on whether or not children under the age of 18 are present and whether one or more adults live in the household. Households may thus be divided into four broad categories: single-person households – one adult, no children; adults without children – living as a couple or not; single-parent households with at least one child – referred to as “single-parent families”; and two or more adults with at least one child – referred to as “families” for the sake of simplicity.

Coverage

Households with at least one responsible person, or head of household, over the age of 15.

Families constitute the most common form of household among immigrants in the OECD. They account for one-third of immigrant households (32.5%) but only a quarter of native-born ones. A further 31% are single-person households, 30.5% are made up of adults without children, and 6% are single-parent families. In the EU, however, single-person arrangements account for 38.5% of immigrant households, making them the most widespread form. Next come families (29%), adults without children (27%), and single-parent families (6%). Overall, children are present in 38% of immigrant households OECD-wide, compared with 30% of native-born households. There are children in at least half of immigrant households in predominantly recent immigration destinations like Chile, Greece and Ireland. That share falls to only 10%, however, in countries with high shares of older immigrants, such as the Baltic countries, Poland and the Slovak Republic. In almost three-quarters of countries, the incidence of households with children is greater among the foreign- than the native-born. The gap is particularly wide – by at least 14 percentage points – in the United States, Southern European countries, and European countries, like Luxembourg and Ireland, which have recently attracted highly educated immigrants from other EU countries.

Immigrants are less likely to live in multiple-adult households without children than the native-born. Such living arrangements include couples without children, parents living with their adult children, and flat shares. About 40% of native households comprise adults living together without children in the OECD and EU, an arrangement that is respectively 9 and 14 percentage points less widespread in immigrant households. In Southern European countries, many households are made up of elderly couples, while large numbers of young adults live longer at home with their parents. As a result, the incidence of multiple-adult households is much greater among the native-born than among immigrants. The reverse is true, however, in some countries with relatively old immigrant populations, such as Israel, Estonia and Latvia.

Single-person households are more common among immigrants in three out of five countries, particularly in Europe. They account for over 40% of immigrant households in longstanding destinations with many settled, poorly educated foreign residents (e.g. France, Germany and the Netherlands), in countries with ageing foreign-born populations (like the Baltic countries and Poland), and in Italy and Norway. That share is at least 8 percentage points higher than among natives. The foreign-born are also more likely than the native-born to live alone in Israel and Latin American OECD countries, where the incidence of single-person households among the native-born is lowest. In Switzerland, Australia, Canada and the United States, by contrast, the native-born are more likely to live alone than immigrants. Lastly, single-parent households are slightly more widespread among the foreign- than the native-born in both the OECD and the EU.

Table 2.1. Composition of households
Percentages (left) and differences in percentage points (right), 2016

 

Immigrant households

Difference (+/-) with the native-born households +: higher than the native-born -: lower than the native-born

 

No child in the household

Child(ren) in the household

No child in the household

Child(ren) in the household

 

Single person

More than one adult

Single person

More than one adult

Single person

More than one adult

Single person

More than one adult

 

Total=100

Difference in percentage points

Australia

26.8

24.3

13.4

35.5

-4.9

-0.7

-0.4

+6.0

Austria

36.9

28.1

3.8

31.2

-1.8

-12.8

+1.7

+12.8

Belgium

40.6

27.1

5.8

26.5

+5.2

-14.9

+2.9

+6.8

Canada

36.8

30.0

6.6

26.6

-3.8

-4.3

+0.1

+8.0

Chile

21.6

29.3

7.9

41.2

+8.0

-9.7

+2.4

-0.8

Croatia

21.7

48.8

1.4

28.1

-3.8

+2.7

+0.5

+0.6

Cyprus1,2

26.1

38.8

5.4

29.7

+4.8

-9.3

+3.3

+1.2

Czech Republic

39.1

34.7

2.1

24.0

+10.5

-9.5

-0.7

-0.3

Denmark

43.6

22.0

8.5

25.8

-2.2

-9.5

+4.7

+7.0

Estonia

46.1

42.4

1.0

10.5

+8.3

+8.4

-2.4

-14.3

Finland

44.4

23.3

5.6

26.7

+2.4

-13.9

+2.5

+9.0

France

42.6

26.4

6.8

24.3

+5.3

-10.4

+2.9

+2.1

Germany

50.7

22.1

5.9

21.3

+7.9

-12.2

+1.5

+2.8

Greece

18.9

31.0

1.8

48.2

-7.9

-18.3

+0.8

+25.3

Hungary

32.0

33.2

3.9

30.9

-2.1

-9.2

+1.3

+10.0

Iceland

39.4

18.4

9.1

33.2

+8.4

-18.4

+3.3

+6.7

Ireland

18.2

27.5

9.3

45.0

-8.8

-12.0

+4.4

+16.4

Israel

33.2

44.4

0.5

21.9

+18.0

+15.6

-2.2

-31.4

Italy

40.5

23.4

4.1

32.0

+8.6

-20.8

+1.9

+10.3

Latvia

42.6

45.0

2.2

10.2

+13.3

+5.1

-1.7

-16.6

Lithuania

60.2

29.2

2.7

7.9

+22.0

-7.0

-1.0

-14.0

Luxembourg

24.1

34.8

2.8

38.3

-10.0

-9.5

+0.4

+19.2

Malta

39.6

34.2

6.1

20.1

+14.4

-12.6

+3.5

-5.4

Mexico

42.4

26.7

5.4

25.4

+32.9

-5.0

+0.7

-28.5

Netherlands

53.5

20.4

7.2

18.8

+14.8

-18.7

+4.5

-0.5

Norway

57.7

16.4

9.6

16.3

+12.4

-15.4

+4.4

-1.5

Poland

60.8

32.2

0.4

6.6

+34.5

-11.2

-0.9

-22.4

Portugal

25.5

31.9

9.7

33.0

+2.8

-17.6

+7.0

+7.7

Slovak Republic

67.0

22.0

0.0

11.0

+44.8

-23.8

-1.6

-19.4

Slovenia

36.7

39.5

0.6

23.1

+6.2

-1.0

-2.1

-3.1

Spain

23.2

34.0

5.2

37.6

-3.8

-12.9

+3.2

+13.4

Sweden

40.8

25.5

8.6

25.0

-4.9

-8.0

+4.8

+8.1

Switzerland

36.7

31.3

3.2

28.8

-5.4

-8.9

+1.0

+13.4

United Kingdom

30.3

29.3

5.9

34.5

-0.8

-13.9

+0.8

+13.9

United States

21.7

35.0

5.1

38.2

-9.1

-6.2

-0.3

+15.6

OECD total (31)

31.2

30.5

5.8

32.5

+0.4

-8.8

+1.4

+7.0

EU total (27)

38.5

27.1

5.6

28.8

+4.3

-13.6

+2.4

+6.8

Argentina

25.6

33.1

6.0

35.4

+7.7

+0.4

+0.3

-8.5

Brazil

34.8

44.1

2.8

18.3

+22.9

+10.0

-2.8

-30.0

Colombia

38.6

32.8

6.2

22.4

+27.2

+10.0

-1.8

-35.4

Costa Rica

14.5

23.4

8.4

53.7

+2.8

-9.7

+1.7

+5.1

Indonesia

29.7

24.0

5.8

40.5

+22.2

+1.5

+2.4

-26.1

South Africa

43.3

30.5

4.6

21.6

+17.1

+8.7

-4.3

-21.4

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842546

Notes and sources are to be found at the end of the chapter.

2.7. Immigration flows by category

Definition

The OECD collects data by category of residence permit from most EU and OECD countries. These administrative data are standardised by the OECD for 24 countries. This section considers: i) permanent immigration flows as a percentage of the total population; ii) the composition of permanent immigration flows by legal category of entry.

Coverage

Permanent immigrants are foreign nationals of any age who received in a given year a residence permit that, under normal circumstances, grants them the right to stay permanently in the host country. They include foreigners who obtain a permanent residence permit upon entry, those who have an initial temporary residence permit which is routinely and indefinitely renewed or transformed into permanent residence, and free mobility migrants (excluding those on short-term stays). To these are added temporary immigrants who become permanent-type residents following a change in their status, such as students taking up employment after completing their studies.

In 2016, OECD countries received 5 million permanent immigrants. The number was 2.8 million in the 15 EU countries considered. In both 2015 and 2016, newly permanent immigration inflows accounted for 0.4% of the OECD’s total population and 0.6% of the EU’s. They comprised less than 0.5% of populations in Asian OECD countries, Southern Europe, France and the United States, and less than one-thousandth in Mexico and Japan. In Australia and Canada, permanent immigration inflows made up between 0.8 and 1% of the total population in both years. The share of newly permanent residents in New Zealand was even higher. In the EU, in countries that are home to large numbers of intra-EU migrants and those with high recent refugee intakes, inflows accounted for more than 1% of the population. These countries include Austria, Germany and the Nordic countries (except Finland). Newly permanent foreign residents account for 1.5% of Switzerland’s population and more than 3% of Luxembourg's, two countries that attract a significant number of intra-EU labour migrants. Indeed, the free intra-EU movement of labour and people has driven almost half of all permanent flows in the EU over the last 12 years. That share is twice that of flows related to family migration and three times greater than those of labour migration from non-EU countries. Free mobility is behind the bulk of inflows into three out of five European countries and three-quarters of permanent arrivals in Luxembourg, Ireland and Switzerland.

OECD-wide, inflows over the last 12 years have been dominated by family migration (36%), free movement (28%), and labour migration, which makes up 14% of flows, or 21% if their accompanying families are included. Family migration is the driving force behind two-thirds of immigration to the United States, to Korea (60%) and to France (43%). Labour migration that includes accompanying family members makes up one-third of all permanent inflows into Japan and one-half in the settlement countries with their large-scale, carefully managed labour migration programmes. Despite recent strong increases in some countries, humanitarian migrants have accounted for less than 10% of all permanent inflows to the OECD and the EU in the last 12 years. Nevertheless, they have represented since 2015 more than 13% of flows in Austria, Canada, Germany, the Nordic countries and the United States. Almost 30% of immigrants settled in Sweden since 2005 have benefited from international protection.

Compared with the average figures during the 2005-14 period, inflows as a percentage of the population tripled in Germany and doubled in Austria in 2015-16. Rates also increased significantly in Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. Permanent immigration to the countries of Southern Europe, by contrast, has almost halved. It is also much lower in Ireland than in the decade prior to 2015. It has remained broadly constant in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Figure 2.11. Inflows of permanent migrants
Percentages of the population in 2005-14 and 2015-16
picture

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842470

Figure 2.12. Categories of entry
Percentages, 2005-16
picture

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842489

Notes and sources are to be found at the end of the chapter.

2.8. Duration of stay and regions of origin

Definition

The duration of stay refers to the length of time that has elapsed since an immigrant’s year of arrival. Region of origin denotes five broad regions, namely Asia, Africa, Europe (including Turkey), Latin America and the Caribbean, and Canada-United States-Oceania. This indicator considers as long-term or settled immigrants those foreign-born with 10 or more years of residence. It considers immigrants with under five years of residence as recent arrivals.

Coverage

Immigrants aged between 15 and 64 years old, excluding those whose country of origin is not reported

Over two-thirds of immigrants in the OECD and EU have lived in their host country for at least 10 years, while 17% have been residents for up to five years. In the Baltic countries and Croatia, for example, where immigration has been shaped by border changes, more than 90% of the foreign-born have been settled for 10 years or more. Settled immigrants also account for over three-quarters of migrants in longstanding immigration countries with relatively few recent arrivals, such as the United States, France and the Netherlands. By contrast, they make up only around half of the foreign-born population in other countries with a long and significant immigrant presence, like Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Norway and Denmark. Their share is even lower in such new destination countries as Romania and Chile, where over half of the foreign-born population have lived for less than five years. The share of recent arrivals climbs to 60% in Korea. The Southern European countries that drew large numbers of low-educated labour migrants prior to the crisis have seen relatively few new arrivals – doubtless because of struggling labour markets.

More than half of the foreign-born in the EU originate from another European country – over 30% from countries in the EU and around 20% from outside. Those levels represent a slight fall over previous years. The immigrant population from Europe accounts for over two-thirds of the immigrant population in half of European countries, and the immigrant population from the EU (intra-EU mobility) for more than a half in one quarter of European countries. In Luxembourg and Austria, and in most European countries where the immigrant population has been shaped by border changes, over 80% of migrants are European-born (from inside or outside the EU).

Much less European is the make-up of the immigrant population in countries with recent intakes of humanitarian and poorly educated labour migrants. In most Nordic countries, for example, over half of the immigrant population was born outside Europe, chiefly in Asia. The immigrant populations of a number of European countries are shaped by post-colonial ties and the legacy of the recruitment of so-called “guest workers” in the wake of World War II. Some 40% of immigrants in the EU were born in Africa or Asia. Belgium, France and the Netherlands, for example, are all home to large numbers of African-born migrants, while in the United Kingdom, one in three immigrants originates from Asia, particularly South Asia. One-third of Spain’s migrant population was born in Latin America and one-fifth in Africa, mainly Morocco. As for Portugal, its largest migrant group – over 40% of its foreign-born residents – is African-born and comes mainly from its former colonies. Outside Europe, the foreign-born come chiefly from Asia or countries of origin that neighbour host countries. Over 50% of the migrant population in the United States, for instance, was born in Latin America and the Caribbean. And in Mexico, Chile, Japan and Korea, more than 85% originate from neighbouring countries. In Australia and Canada, around half of the immigrant population is Asian-born.

Figure 2.13. Duration of stay among immigrants
Percentages staying up to 5 years and over 10 years, 15- to 64-year-olds, 2015-16
picture

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842508

Figure 2.14. Regions of birth
Percentages of the population, 15- to 64-year-olds, 2015-16
picture

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842527

Notes and sources are to be found at the end of the chapter.

Notes and sources

Notes on Cyprus

  1. 1. Note by Turkey: The information in this document with reference to “Cyprus” relates to the southern part of the Island. There is no single authority representing both Turkish and Greek Cypriot people on the Island. Turkey recognises the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Until a lasting and equitable solution is found within the context of the United Nations, Turkey shall preserve its position concerning the “Cyprus issue”.

  2. 2. Note by all the European Union Member States of the OECD and the European Union: The Republic of Cyprus is recognised by all members of the United Nations with the exception of Turkey. The information in this document relates to the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.

Note on Israel

The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.

Notes on figures and tables

Lithuania was not an OECD Member at the time of preparation of this publication. Accordingly, Lithuania does not appear in the list of OECD Members and is not included in the zone aggregates.

On 25 May 2018, the OECD Council invited Colombia to become a Member. At the time of publication the deposit of Colombia’s instrument of accession to the OECD Convention was pending and therefore Colombia does not appear in the list of OECD Members and is not included in the OECD zone aggregates.

Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia determine who is an immigrant on the basis of nationality, not on the basis of country of birth.

New Zealand determines the migration status of the household according to the country of birth of the main head of household only.

Figure 2.3: Regions in bold refer to capital-regions.

Figure 2.8: As children’s country of birth is not available in Israel, all young children in the family are deemed to be born in the country.

Figure 2.13: Korea includes in the immigrant population all foreigners and immigrants who have been naturalised in the past 5 years. Shares shown are for the 15-59 population.

Figure 2.14: In Mexico, immigrants born in Canada are included in the “Latin America and Caribbean” region of origin, because they cannot be distinguished from “Other American countries”. In Finland and Sweden, immigrants born in Northern Africa are included in the “Asia” region of origin because they cannot be distinguished from “Near and Middle-East”.

Averages factor in rates that cannot be published individually because sample sizes are too small.

For further detailed data, see Annex A.

Table 2.2. Sources by indicator

2.1 Size of the immigrant population

2.2 Regional distribution

2.3 Age

2.4 Endogamous partnership and fertility

2.5 Immigrant households

2.6 Household composition

2.7 Immigration flows by category

2.8 Duration of stay and regions of origin

OECD/EU

Australia

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

Census 2016 (F2.5 only)

Census 2016

Census 2016

Census 2016

IMD 2005-2016

Census 2016

Austria

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2005-2016

EU-LFS 2015-16

Belgium

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2005-2016

EU-LFS 2015-16

Bulgaria

Eurostat 2017

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

Canada

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2016

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

Census 2016 (F2.5 only)

Census 2016

Census 2016

Census 2016

IMD 2005-2016

Census 2016

Chile

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2015

..

CASEN 2015

..

CASEN 2015

CASEN 2015

..

CASEN 2015

Croatia

Eurostat 2017

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

Cyprus1,2

Eurostat 2009 & 2017

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

Czech Republic

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2016

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2005-2016

EU-LFS 2015-16

Denmark

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

..

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2005-2016

EU-LFS 2015-16

Estonia

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

Finland

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

..

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2005-2016

EU-LFS 2015-16

France

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2016

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2005-2016

EU-LFS 2015-16

Germany

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

Mikrozensus 2016 (F2.5 only)

Mikrozensus 2016 (F2.8 only)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2005-2016

Mikrozensus 2016

Greece

IMO 2018: data for 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

Hungary

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

Iceland

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

..

..

..

EU-SILC 2015

EU-SILC 2015

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

Ireland

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2016

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8 only)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2005-2016

EU-LFS 2015-16

Israel*

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2016

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

..

LFS 2011

IHS 2015

IHS 2015

IMD 2014-2016

LFS 2016

Italy

IMO 2018: data for 2009 & 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2005-2016

EU-LFS 2015-16

Japan

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

..

Census 2015 (F2.5 only)

..

..

..

IMD 2005-2016

..

Korea

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2016

..

Census 2015 (F2.5 only)

..

Census 2015 (F2.8 only)

..

IMD 2005-2016

SILCLF 2017

Latvia

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2016

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

Lithuania

Eurostat 2007 & 2017

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

Luxembourg

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

..

..

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2012-2016

EU-LFS 2015-16

Malta

Eurostat 2009 & 2017

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

Mexico

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2016

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

ENOE 2016; ENOE 2017 Q3 (F2.3)

..

ENOE 2017 Q3

ENOE 2017 Q3

IMD 2005-2016

ENOE 2016

Netherlands

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8 only)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2005-2016

EU-LFS 2015-16

New Zealand

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2016

..

..

LFS Q2-Q4/2016-Q1/2017 (F2.8 only)

HES 2015/16

..

IMD 2005-2016

LFS 2017

Norway

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2016

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

..

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7 only)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2005-2016

EU-LFS 2015-16

Poland

Eurostat 2008 & 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

Portugal

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2016

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2005-2016

EU-LFS 2015-16

Romania

Eurostat 2017

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

Slovak Republic

IMO 2018: data for 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

Slovenia

Eurostat 2009, IMO 2018: data for 2016

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

..

EU-LFS 2015-16

Spain

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2006-2016

EU-LFS 2015-16

Sweden

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

..

..

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2005-2016

EU-LFS 2015-16

Switzerland

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

..

..

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2005-2016

EU-LFS 2015-16

Turkey

IMO 2018: data for 2016

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

United Kingdom

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

EU-LFS 2015-16

EU-LFS AHM 2014 (F2.7); EU-LFS 2016 (F2.8)

EU-SILC 2016

EU-SILC 2016

IMD 2005-2016

EU-LFS 2015-16

United States

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

OECD database on immigrant integration at the regional level, 2005 & 2014-15

CPS 2016-17, ACS 2016 (F2.6)

ACS 2016 (F2.8 only)

ACS 2016

ACS 2016

IMD 2005-2016

CPS 2016-17

Partner/G20 countries

Argentina

IPUMS Census 2010

..

IPUMS Census 2010

..

IPUMS Census 2010

IPUMS Census 2010

..

IPUMS Census 2010 (F2.14 only)

Brazil

IPUMS Census 2010

..

IPUMS Census 2010

..

IPUMS Census 2010

IPUMS Census 2010

..

IPUMS Census 2010

Colombia

IPUMS Census 2005

..

IPUMS Census 2005

..

IPUMS Census 2005

IPUMS Census 2005

..

IPUMS Census 2005

Costa Rica

IPUMS Census 2011

..

IPUMS Census 2011

..

IPUMS Census 2011

IPUMS Census 2011

..

IPUMS Census 2011

Indonesia

IPUMS Census 2010

..

IPUMS Census 2010

..

IPUMS Census 2010

IPUMS Census 2010

..

IPUMS Census 2010 (F2.14 only)

Russia

IMO 2018: data for 2007 & 2017

..

Census 2010

..

..

..

..

Census 2010 (F2.13 only)

Saudi Arabia

Population Characteristics Survey 2017

.. 

.. 

..

..

..  

 ..

.. 

South Africa

IPUMS Census 2011

..

IPUMS Census 2011

..

IPUMS Census 2011

IPUMS Census 2011

..

IPUMS Census 2011

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