International Migrants Day

One in seven residents of Slovenia is an immigrant

Almost 14% of the residents of Slovenia were born abroad. Almost half of them are Slovenian citizens. 38% of the foreign-born population immigrated to Slovenia in the last ten years.

  • 13 December 2021 at 10:30
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The International Migrants Day has been observed since 2000. 18 December 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 on 18 December 1990.

46% of immigrants are Slovenian citizens

Among the 2,108,977 residents of Slovenia as of 1 January 2021, 292,824 or 13.9% were born abroad. That means that they immigrated to Slovenia at some point. Among them, 46% were citizens of Slovenia: some of these were born as such (for example they were born to Slovenian citizens who lived abroad), while some acquired Slovenian citizenship through naturalisation.

This means that not all immigrants are foreigners. Similarly, not all residents with foreign citizenship are immigrants: among 169,000 foreigners in 2021, there were just under 7% who were actually born in Slovenia and were statistically not considered immigrants.

The most common country of birth is Bosnia and Herzegovina, among non-European countries China

Slovenia has a long history of immigration. For at least the last 70 years, the strongest immigration flows have been from the former Yugoslavia. Several decades in a common state are reflected in the population composition of modern-day Slovenia.
Among the 293,000 immigrants in Slovenia, 253,000 (86%) were born in one of the countries of former Yugoslavia. Those born in Bosnia and Herzegovina are the most numerous (133,000), followed by those born in Croatia (43,000) and Serbia (30,000).


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Among immigrants from other European countries, the most numerous are those born in Germany (7,600), followed by Italy (4,600) and the Russian Federation (4,000). Among residents born outside of Europe, the most common country of birth is China (1,200), followed by the United States (900) and Argentina (400).

The 293,000 foreign-born residents of Slovenia were born in 174 different countries.

The above-mentioned data refer to Slovenia as a whole, but the share of foreign-born population by country of birth varies quite a lot among regions. In the Pomurska statistical region, Croatia is the most common foreign country of birth (32%), while in all other regions Bosnia and Herzegovina is first (35%-66%). Italian-born population stands for nearly 9% of all foreign-born in the Obalno-kraška statistical region, and under 0.2% in the Koroška statistical region.

The number of immigrants in Slovenia is increasing

In 1948, the results of the first post-World War II population census showed that 5.5% of residents of Slovenia were born outside Slovenia. In 2002, the share was 8.5% and in 2011 11.1%. By 2021, the share increased to 13.9%.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of foreign-born residents of Slovenia first immigrated after Slovenia became independent. In 2011 or later, 39% of residents born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 43% born in Serbia and 60% born in Kosovo immigrated to Slovenia after 2010, while 24% of foreign-born residents from Croatia immigrated to Slovenia already in the 1970s.

Between 2018 and 2020, nearly 62,000 foreign-born residents immigrated to Slovenia for the first time. This means that one in five immigrants in Slovenia has lived in Slovenia for 3 years or less.


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Among foreign-born residents of Slovenia, there are more men (59%) than women. The gender difference is the largest among those who immigrated after 2010: almost twice as many men as women. Among those who immigrated in 2018 or later, the share of men is even higher: almost 70%.
When making use of the data and information of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, always add: "Source: SURS". More: Copyright.