This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Eastern European Immigrants Boost UK Economy

Voluntary migrants typically move to improve their own economic situation, and despite the fears about them in the receiving countries, the evidence generally supports the idea that they are a net economic gain to the host country. That was certainly the conclusion of a report released today in the United Kingdom by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research.

Between 2004 and 2009, an estimated 1.5 million people from eastern Europe came to the UK. It is thought 700,000 of them stayed, with half a million from Poland alone.
During the same period Britain's GDP grew by £98bn, or 7.7%, and the NIESR study says that a 5% share of the £98bn can be put down to the migrants.
Only the UK, Ireland and Sweden allowed free access from the start to workers from the eight 2004 accession countries, which included Poland, Latvia and Hungary.
The last EU members to keep restrictions -- Germany and Austria -- lift them on Sunday.
The UK report suggests that Germany may suffer in the long-term for its unwillingness to accept those immigrants at an earlier date.
The NIESR says the UK probably benefited from the restrictions imposed by other member states. It says Germany will suffer a "permanent scar" on its level of output, with its GDP reduced by between 0.1 and 0.5%.
One of the report's authors, Dawn Holland, says that the final lifting of restrictions by all EU countries will make little difference to the situation.
"Lifting barriers in Germany may divert some Polish and other workers away from the UK", she says, "especially given the relative strength of the German economy".
"But as the existence of support networks for new migrants is one of the most important factors, much of the shift in migrants since 2004 is likely to prove permanent."

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