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About 600,000 Hungarians are living abroad, and according to another 600,000 are planning to emigrate in the next few years. 

There have been several different estimations of the number of Hungarians living abroad, and there is no way to say anything for sure. Every method they use gives a different answer, so as of now it is estimated that anywhere between 120 to 637 thousand Hungarians are living outside of Hungary. is still of the opinion that the number of Hungarians living in the UK is seriously underestimated: official statistics say about 100,000 but thinks that number has already doubled in the past years. 

Based on a micro-census done by the KSH, asking families if they have anyone from their household who moved abroad, they estimate 306,000 Hungarians living abroad: 258,790 of these live there permanently, while 47,500 has spent less than a year abroad. 

According to the same micro-census, 2.6% of Hungarians (242,000) moved abroad for at least a year. 130,000 of these emigrated after the year 2000. At the last census in 2011 only 2.1% of the population said that they had been living abroad for a time. 

What do we know about the Hungarians who chose to live abroad?

  • Unsurprisingly younger generations move abroad more often: most who emigrate are between 25-45 years old. 
  • The countries where most Hungarians want to move are: Germany, the UK and Austria
  • Skilled workers and those with higher education are the two groups that most often leave our country, although the latter usually cannot get a job in their chosen field 
  • Most people emigrate to find work abroad

Another interesting tidbit: 30% of those working abroad and 41% of those who are returning to Hungary have a higher education. If we are looking at the whole Hungarian population, the percentage of those having a higher education degree is only 22%. 

According to the micro census, 71% of the emigrated Hungarians live in the top 3 countries (Germany, the UK, Austria) and 57% of those who are returning after a time spent working abroad are from these countries. 

  • Most who emigrate to Germany are men ages between 40-64, mostly skilled workers
  • The UK is the preferred destination for those with higher education
  • Those who plan on moving abroad for a shorter time and then returning home usually choose either Austria or Germany
  • Those who want to move permanently, immigrate to the UK or the other countries on the list after the first three
  • Women, those with higher education or those who are immigrating to further their studies usually choose countries outside of the top 3 


We also have data about the motives behind their return to Hungary:

  • 37% came back because of their family
  • 27% said that they reached their objective
  • 22% returned because of financial, professional or academic reasons
  • 14 % because of other motives. 

8.4% of those asked during the micro-census said they have plans to leave the country in the next 2 years. This means about 510,000 Hungarians will leave Hungary, causing another catastrophe for our economy and society. 71% of those planning to move abroad do no think they will stay there permanently. Half of them are thinking to work abroad anywhere between 1 to 5 years. 13% wants to come back within a year. Only 29 per cent said that they are ready to leave Hungary permanently.  


Nothing is surprising about the motivation behind leaving Hungary: 4 out of 5 people are emigrating because of financial reasons, 44% are hoping for better working and living conditions. 


1 comment
  1. It wouldn’t make sense for young people to move out of the country. High employment opportunities and a bustling economy vs possible employment and higher costs of living should be enough to keep minds from wandering.

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