Tanvi Misra is a staff writer for CityLab covering immigrant communities, housing, economic inequality, and culture. She also authors Navigator, a weekly newsletter for urban explorers (subscribe here). Her work also appears in The Atlantic, NPR, and BBC.
A Pew Research Center analysis shows that the influx of refugees has dramatically increased the share of immigrants in many countries.
Over a million people sought asylum in Europe between July 2015 and May 2016. In large part, these were migrants pouring into the continent from ongoing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Europe is still debating the best way to deal with the incoming waves of refugees, but the ones already there have significantly changed their new homes.
In some European countries, the immigrant share of the population has risen by at least one percentage point between 2015 and 2016, according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center. That may not sound like a lot, but it is an incredible rise for a Western country. It took a whole decade, for example, for the share of immigrants to rise by that much in the U.S.: from 13 percent in 2005 to about 14 percent in 2015.
Sweden, where immigrants were already a substantive 16.8 percent of the population in 2015, saw the biggest rise—its share of immigrants rose to 18.3 percent in 2016. Austria and Norway were the other two other countries with high immigrant populations (at least 15 percent in 2016) that saw roughly a 1 percentage point rise from the year before. In contrast, the United Kingdom and France, also known for their immigrant-heavy populations, experienced relatively small changes. And Germany, which has opened its doors to the largest number of migrants, saw 0.7 percent point rise, which is “a substantial but significantly smaller increase than in other European countries,” Pew notes.
Of the countries that had low immigrant populations to begin with, Hungary and Finland saw the biggest increases, at 1.3 and 0.8 percentage points, respectively.
Below is Pew’s map and chart showing the countries that saw the most notable shifts in their shares of immigrants: