The popular narrative around intra-EU migration says that young people (aged 20-24) are migrating from southern, eastern, and central Europe and arriving in western and northern Europe.
The numbers from Table 1 (below) show that this narrative is true. There are two notable exceptions, in Denmark and Finland, which both saw a net loss in intra-EU migration of young people. The column on the right shows that for intra-EU migration of young people from 2013-2017, the biggest cumulative net gains were seen in Germany (492,000) – far ahead of the next-biggest gains, seen in Sweden (24,000). The biggest net losses were seen in in Poland (–268,000) and Spain (–136,000); no surprises here.
The column on the left shows that, when all migrants are considered – including those from non-EU countries – for the years 2008-2017 most of Southern Europe still experienced a cumulative gain in migration flows, in contrast with most of eastern and central Europe. The biggest gains in cumulative inflows were seen in Germany (3,791,000) and Italy (2,532,000) while the biggest losses were in Poland (–450,000) and Lithuania (–295,000).
It is important to note that these are total numbers and the impact of losing or gaining, for example, 100,000 people will be greater on a country with a small population base than on a country with a large population base.
A few more interesting insights from the table: both Belgium and the Netherlands experienced positive net inflows in intra-EU migration for ages 20-34, but overall experienced negative inflows in intra-EU migrations. Denmark experienced the opposite, with negative intra-EU inflows for ages 20-34, but overall positive net inflows for intra-EU migration. However, this table cannot show us what is behind these differences in inflows.