According to OECD estimates, the number of Hungarian emigrants who left the country in the past decade in order to live somewhere else either permanently or temporarily is closing in on 1 million. It is much harder to say how many have returned, so we do not have data related to this. Nevertheless, it seems like there are now at least 600,000 Hungarians living in Europe, reports portfolio.hu.
Emigrating is still more or less continuous, but it has slowed down a little in 2016. According to OECD’s International Migration Outlook 2018, 85,000 Hungarians were emigrating in 2016, while this number was closer to 99,000 in 2015.
We could also take a look at what happened in the last decade. Every year on average 65,000 Hungarians left the country between 2006-15. We can add to this number all the people who left immediately after our country joined the EU, plus the 85,000 form 2016 and an estimate from 2017 (numbers are not yet known). All in all, we are probably above 900,000 emigrants.
The future of Eastern Europe
These statistics do foreshadow not only the future of Hungary but also the future of other Eastern European countries. The most shocking is probably the 419,000 people who left Romania in just one year. On average, 336,000 Romanians leave their country every year, 282,000 emigrate from Poland, 125,000 from Bulgaria, 128,000 from Ukraine and 76,000 from Croatia every year.
More and more countries are trying to do something to entice the population to return, by offering housing assistance or starting cultural centers to help promote national identity and returning to the home country.
What are all these people doing in Western Europe?
In Spain and Italy, most immigrants are working in hotels or restaurants, while in other countries the construction industry and the manufacturing industry are the most popular. One of the favourite countries for Hungarians is Germany, where almost every fourth migrant worker is in the manufacturing industry.
There is also another layer of emigrants, who have university degrees, but when they leave their home country, the only job they get is washing dishes. On average, the chance of doing jobs they are overqualified for is 15% higher in places outside of their home countries.