International Migrants Day

Among Slovenian citizens who emigrated from Slovenia the share of highly educated individuals does not stand out

The share of tertiary educated population is rising as is the share of emigrants with this level of education. However, the tertiary educated are no more likely to emigrate than those with lower levels of education.

  • 12 December 2016 at 10:30
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The International Migrants Day was established in 2000. December 18 was selected in memory of the adoption of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families in 1990 by the United Nations Assembly. On this occasion we decided to examine some statements regarding emigration of Slovenian citizens and check if they are supported by statistical data or not.

Statement 1: Emigration of Slovenian citizens is increasing.
True. The number of Slovenian citizens emigrating from Slovenia increased from 4,800 in 2008 to 8,700 in 2015. The data on the reasons for migration are not collected, but generally the most common reasons are linked with younger generations such as education, employment, family reunification (including mixed marriages), so many migrants are young.

Statement 2: An increasing number of highly educated young people are emigrating.
True. In the period for which we have data on the educational level of international migrants, the number of emigrants with tertiary education has indeed risen. At first glance it seems that only highly educated Slovenian citizens are emigrating from the country, but our analyses show that residents with tertiary education are no more likely to emigrate than the rest. Because the younger generations are on average better educated than the older ones, the share of emigrants (most of whom are younger) with tertiary education is also slightly higher. This is true of all emigrants from Slovenia, but if we focus only on Slovenian citizens, the difference is larger.

Statement 3: Highly educated young people emigrate much more than their lower educated peers Not true, even though at first glance it seems to be true.

In 2013 and 2014, a total of 13,413 Slovenian citizens aged 15+ emigrated from Slovenia. Just over a quarter of them had tertiary education. Among the residents of Slovenia, on 1 January 2014 one in five had tertiary education.

A comparison by age groups reveals a slightly different situation. At ages when most Slovenian citizens emigrate – 25–34 years, i.e. when many are entering the labour market, do not yet have children or their children are small, and are more internationally mobile – the shares of Slovenian citizens with tertiary education and of Slovenian citizens with tertiary education emigrating from Slovenia are comparable. The share of Slovenian emigrants with tertiary education exceeded the share of Slovenian citizens with tertiary education the most in the age group 30–34 years: almost 41% for emigrants and 38% for resident population.

The gap was even larger in the age group 20–24 years, where 32% of emigrants had basic education or less compared to 10% for the resident population.

Calculations for the 2011–2014 period, for which we have comparable data, lead to similar results as shown above. The share of population with tertiary education is increasing as is the share of emigrants with this level of education. However, people with tertiary education do not emigrate more than people with lower levels of education.

NEXT RELEASE: Data on socioeconomic characteristics of international migrants (2015) and population (as of 1 January 2016) will be released on 21 December 2016.
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