New directions

Both the size and the relative incidence or frequency of the foreign-born population have increased in all OECD countries since 1995. So while there have been large increases in traditional migration countries such as the US and New Zealand, there have also been sharp rises in Denmark, Korea, Ireland, Italy, Norway and Spain, where inward migration has recently taken off.
And as the International Migration Outlook 2007 notes, Ireland has even surpassed the UK as an immigration country over the past decade, whereas France, once a significant country of immigration, now finds itself with proportionally fewer immigrants than either Ireland or the UK, or indeed Greece or Norway. At the same time, there have been small relative increases in the four countries with the highest prevalence of foreign-born persons, namely Australia, Canada, Luxembourg and Switzerland.The foreign-born populations now represent at least 10% of the total population in about half of OECD countries. Add in the offspring of immigrants, particularly in “mature” migration countries, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Switzerland, and the percentage of persons with an immigrant background almost doubles, reaching as high as 40% or more. In some countries such as Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, the fertility rates of immigrant women have been higher than that of native-born women, so that the second generation outsizes the parental generation.

Order International Migration Outlook (SOPEMI) 2007 at

ISBN 9789264032859

©OECD Observer No. 264/265, December 2007-January 2008

Economic data


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