EU Economy
Foreign citizens accounted for 6.5% of the total EU27 population in 2010
By Finfacts Team
Jul 15, 2011 - 5:32 AM

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In 2010, 32.5m foreign citizens lived in the EU27 member countries, of which 12.3m were citizens of another EU27 member country and the remaining 20.2m were citizens of countries outside the EU27. Foreign citizens accounted for 6.5% of the total EU27 population. On average in 2010, foreign citizens living in the EU27 were significantly younger than the population of nationals (median age 34.4 years compared with 41.5 years). These figures come from a report published by Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union.

The proportion of foreign citizens varied between less than 2% in Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia and 43% in Luxembourg

In 2010, the largest numbers of foreign citizens were recorded in Germany (7.1m persons or 9% of the total population), Spain (5.7m or 12%), the United Kingdom (4.4m or 7%), Italy (4.2m or 7%) and France (3.8m or 6%). In total, more than 75% of the foreign citizens in the EU27 lived in these five member countries.

Among the EU27 member countries, the highest percentage of foreign citizens in the population was observed in Luxembourg (43% of the total population), followed by Latvia (17%), Estonia and Cyprus (both 16%). The percentage of foreign citizens was less than 2% in Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia.

In terms of citizenship, nearly 40% of the EU foreign population were citizens of another EU27 member country, with the highest shares in Luxembourg (86% of the foreign population), Ireland (80%), Belgium (68%), Cyprus (66%), Slovakia (62%) and Hungary (59%.

A third of the foreign-born population born in another EU27 Member Country

Eurostat says data on foreign citizens provide useful information on the part of the population with a foreign background. However, since citizenship can change over time, it is interesting to complement this information with data on the foreign-born population1. This provides supplementary information as it includes foreign citizens who have acquired the citizenship of the country of residence, but who were born abroad. It also includes nationals born abroad (for example in the territory of a former colony) or nationals born in a part of a state which, due to dissolution or border changes, no longer belongs to the same country.

The number of foreign-born people exceeded the number of foreign citizens in all member countries, except in Luxembourg, Latvia and the Czech Republic.

In 2010, there were 47.3m foreign-born people living in the EU27, with 16.0m born in another EU27 member country and 31.4m born in a country outside the EU27. In total, foreign-born people accounted for 9.4% of the total population of the EU27.

Data on the place of birth of the foreign-born population show that one third of foreign-born people living in the EU27 were born in another EU27 member country, with proportions above 50% being observed in Luxembourg (83% of total foreign-born), Ireland (77%) and Hungary (67%).

6.5% of the EU population are foreigners and 9.4% are born abroad

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