EU figures estimate that 6.9 million children in Europe reside in a country different from the one on their passport. Around two-thirds of these hail from outside the bloc. The figures are rising, albeit not that fast.
A study by the European Commission’s Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography late last year sought to ascertain how many migrant children reside in the EU, and where they hail from.
While stressing that precise data is hard to come by, especially for specific age ranges, the researchers found that roughly 7% of children in the bloc live somewhere other than their country of nationality. Around two-thirds of them had moved from “third countries,” with the remainder being EU nationals who live in a different member state.
The figures for both third-country and intra-EU migrants under the age of 20 had risen between 2014 and 2018, the most recent year with available data, but perhaps by less than you might expect given the migration crisis that came to a head in the second half of 2015 and persists on a smaller scale today. Intra-EU migration was actually rising at twice the rate of third country migration across the bloc, despite the migrant crisis.
The footprint of the migrant crisis was visible in the figures too. The peak in applications came in 2016 — explained by the typical delay in the application process, with many of 2016’s applications likely coming from people who had entered Europe in 2015. Almost 400,000 under-18s’ applications were logged in 2016, versus 185,000 in 2018, with provisional estimates for 2019 suggesting a further decrease.
Children represented around 30% of asylum applications. Sixty percent of the applications between 2015 and 2017 came from three conflict-ridden countries — Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq — with another 15% of the total hailing from the Balkans and Eastern Europe.
Austria, Sweden and Malta also experienced what the EU classified as strong proportional increases akin to Germany’s, with significant upticks logged in Denmark, Slovenia and the Netherlands.
Some of the eastern European countries with the toughest responses and rhetoric regarding to the migrant crisis — like Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania — all appeared far lower down the list, with totals under 20,000. Even populous Poland, home to almost 40 million people in total, was on just 25,712, sandwiched between Finland and Republic of Ireland, both with populations nearer 5 million.
Read more via DW