Economics in a picture
Positive net migration flows allow for short-term adjustments in the labour market, reducing the trend of a declining and ageing population
Net migration has a volatile contribution to population developments, driven by political and economic factors. From 2017, net migration has been positive, reaching in 2021 the highest value since 1974-75, with the latest indicators suggesting an increase in immigration. Eurostat's baseline scenario projections (EUROPOP2023) assume a positive net flow between 2022 and 2100, with an annual average value close to 35 thousand individuals. After a significant reduction in the net inflow in 2023, to values lower than those observed in recent years, Eurostat projects an increase in inflows to annual average values of 50 thousand net inflows at the end of the horizon.
Assuming a positive net migration in line with the latest information at the beginning of the horizon, followed by a gradual convergence towards the Eurostat’s baseline scenario, implies that the population increases observed in the recent past persist for some time, with a more immediate impact on the working-age population (20-64 years). Afterwards, the negative evolution of the natural change returns to dominate population dynamics. In this scenario, population is larger than in Eurostat's central projections over the entire horizon. This evidence suggests that migration policies constitute a dimension of labour market adjustment, particularly in the short term, mitigating population decline and ageing.
Prepared by António Antunes, Fátima Cardoso, Vanda Cunha and Cláudia Duarte. The analyses, opinions and findings expressed above represent the views of the authors and not necessarily those of Banco de Portugal or Eurosystem.
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