Research shows numbers of UK expats in EU overestimated

Published:  31 Jan at 6 PM
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Recently released research by the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows the number of British citizens living in Europe has been overestimated.

A total of 890,000 Brits are at present living in other European Union member states as against a former estimate by the United Nations of around 1.2 million. At the same time, nationals from EU states living and working in Britain total 3,150,000. The figures from the ONS are taken from Eurostat data compiled from the 2010-2011 national censuses, and include expats resident across the EU for more than two years.

The ONS totals, preferred by demographers, were based on nationality, whilst the UN figures were based on country of birth. Unsurprisingly, Spain holds the largest number of UK expats at 308,805, with one third of the total over 65 years of age. France, still a popular UK expatriate destination, holds 157,062 Britons, and Ireland is home to 112.090 escapees from the UK. Portugal, the 10th most popular European destination, has 15,774 British in residency of whom the vast majority, some 9,467, are over 50 years old.

Given the data is now 5 years out of date, ONS researchers are sure it’s the most representative due to its rigorous collection and evaluation and the fact that it covers the entire European Union. Demographers working with the data suggest there hasn’t been a great deal of change since the censuses were taken, in spite of previous media reports of a surge in emigrants leaving the UK.

Other statistical analyses show the largest age group in the Europe-wide British expat community is between 30 and 49 years and totals 280,000 individuals, suggesting that the majority of expats have jobs or are running their own businesses. Based on the statistics, the most popular countries for those over 50 are Cyprus, Portugal, France, Greece, and Bulgaria, with 2.9 per cent of the population of Cyprus holding British citizenship.

Across the entire European Union excluding Britain but including the four European Free Trade Association countries of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland, UK citizens living abroad constitute just 0.2 per cent of the total population.

Source: Algarve Daily News
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