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Debate about migration statistics

June 29th, 2018

A liberal commentator looks into the emigration statistics, and finds that the numbers do not substantiate the narratives of either the opposition, or the government on the number of Hungarians leaving and returning.

Both the opposition and the government distort and use outmigration statistics for their own political purposes, Fruzsina Előd writes on Index. The liberal commentator recalls that the opposition has for years claimed that Hungarians are leaving the country en masse as a result of ‘Fidesz’s authoritarian governance’. Although no precise data are available, according to the estimates based on the figures of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office and Eurostat surveys, Hungarian outmigration is one of the lowest in the region, and is only slightly higher than the EU average, Előd points out. She adds that outmigration seems to have peaked in 2015, but all this has little to do with the Orbán government’s politics. Előd also mentions that according to the estimates, at least half of those Hungarians who leave the country return after a few years, and, according to the 2016 annual report of the Central Statistical Office, the number of returnees was higher than the total number of emigrants. Előd suggests, nonetheless, that the government’s claim that more young Hungarians are returning than leaving is also unsubstantiated.