Forecasting Migration: The Role of Modelling Emigration – an Analysis for Germany

Johann Fuchs , Institute for Employment Research (IAB)
Doris Soehnlein, Institute for Employment Research

Many OECD countries are confronted with two population related trends. Firstly, the labour force is expected to decline due to demographic ageing. Secondly, there has been a tremendous inflow of migrants for a couple of years. In Germany, there is an ongoing discussion about whether it is possible to offset the negative demographic trend by immigration. A higher level of immigration increases the migrant population and, therefore, more people are under risk to leave the country. If migration is thought as a cure for a shrinking working population, either the emigration rate has to drop or immigration should increase. Our study focuses on this link. The data are obtained from the German Federal Statistical Office. We apply simulations based on a deterministic cohort component model. Besides the usual characteristics age and sex, our model distinguishes between German and non-German nationals. The migration part models immigration and emigration independently. Several simulations were run, each keeping constant a combination of net migration, gross immigration, and group specific emigration rates. We complement our simulations for stochastically forecasted rates. Preliminary estimations show gross immigration has to grow to incredible numbers in case the overall emigration rate should not collapse. From the opposite perspective, an almost stable emigration rate in connection with visible immigration numbers would restrict the net migration surplus. Furthermore, demographic indicators seem to be influenced by the way we model migration. Ageing indicators like the old age dependency ratio are less susceptible than size measures like the working age population.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy