New report: How many will flee from Ukraine and which EU countries will they go to?

2022-03-23

12 million Ukrainians are assumed to seek protection in an EU country and 2.5 percent of them, or 300,000, will seek refuge in Sweden. This is a much higher forecast than what the Swedish Migration Agency has predicted. These are the results from a new study and a report by researchers at the Department of Economics in collaboration with Delmi.

More than one in three refugees from Ukraine is believed to want to seek refuge in Germany. Poland is the second most sought-after country (15.4 percent), followed by Italy (10.9 percent), France (7.3 percent) and the Czech Republic (7.0 percent). 2.5 percent have Sweden as their first alternative, which is a ninth place on the list of EU countries.

The study is based on data from Gallup World Poll (GWP) with annual interview surveys in 160 of the world's countries and regions in over 140 languages. The sample in each country consists of at least 1,000 individuals, representative of the population aged 15 and older, making GWP the largest representative survey in the world. According to GWP, 99 percent of the world's adult population is represented.

During the years 2007–2021, an average of 26 percent of Ukrainians stated that they wanted to move to another country. Of those who want to move to another country, about half (47 percent) want to move to an EU country.

- If one in four wanted to move even before the war, there are of course many more now. Living conditions in the country have deteriorated and the possibility of a good reception and a good future in the EU has improved. As a result, even more people will probably prefer the EU to the other countries, says Mikael Elinder.

Based on figures presented in the report, it does not appear unlikely that 12 million Ukrainians will try to leave the country if they are allowed to come to an EU country. Countries outside the EU, such as Moldova and Russia, have also received many refugees from Ukraine, but at present it appears that the vast majority will seek refuge in an EU country.

- If we assume that 12 million leave Ukraine to seek protection in an EU country and that 2.5 percent apply to come to Sweden, 300,000 Ukrainians would come. The number that might come to Sweden according to these calculations far exceeds the Swedish Migration Agency´s highest scenario, which states 212,000. How it will turn out remains to be seen and depends largely on factors that we do not know today, says Elinder.

The results of this report show that Germany is the country that most Ukrainians want to move to. As many as 36 percent of those who want to move to an EU country state that they want to go to Germany. Even in relation to Germany's population size, it appears to be one of the most attractive EU countries for Ukrainians (after the Czech Republic and Luxembourg). About 2.5 percent state that they want to move to Sweden. This corresponds well with Sweden's size (Sweden makes up 2.3 percent of the EU population). In that sense, Sweden is neither particularly popular nor unpopular among Ukrainians.

Rank EU country Share wishing to move to each country Individuals per million refugees Proportional distribution (per million refugees)
1 Germany 35,6 % 356 100 185 900
2 Poland  15,4% 154 400 84 700
3 Italy 10,9% 109 400 133 000
4 France 7,3% 72 600 150 000
5 Czech Republic 7,0% 70 000 23 900
6 Spain 5,3% 53 100 105 700
7 Netherlands 2,9% 29 100 38 900
8 Austria 2,9% 28 800 19 900
9 Sweden 2,5% 25 000 23 100
10 Denmark 1,6% 16 500 13 000
11 Portugal 1,4% 14 400 23 000
12 Greece 1,4% 13 900 23 900
13 Slovakia 0,9% 9 400 12 200
14 Hungary 0,8% 7 600 21 800
15 Finland 0,7%  6 900 12 400
16  Belgium 0,5% 5 000 25 800
17 Croatia 0,4% 4 300 9 000
18 Romania 0,4% 3 900 43 100
19 Estonia 0,4% 3 900 3 000
20 Luxembourg 0,4% 3 700 1 400
21 Bulgaria 0,3% 3 400 15 500
22 Lithuania 0,3% 2 500 6 200
23  Latvia 0,2 % 2 000 4 200
24  Cyprus 0,1% 1 400 2 700
25 Ireland 0,1% 1 200 11 200
26 Slovenia 0,1% 1 200 4 700
27 Malta <0,1% 300 1 200

Source: Own calculations based on Gallup World Poll, 2007-2021. 

Read the report on Delmi's web

Authors

Mikael Elinder, Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor at Department of Economics, Uppsala University, affiliated researcher at the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) and Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies (UCFS) mikael.elinder@nek.uu.se Mobile: + 46 (0)707-69 09 76

Oscar Erixson, Ph.D. in Economics, researcher at Institute for Housing and Urban Research, affiliated research at Urban Labs and Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies (UCFS)

Olle Hammar, Ph.D. in Economics, researcher at researcher at the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) and Institute for Future Studies, affiliated research at Uppsala Immigration Lab and Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies (UCFS)

Last modified: 2022-05-19