Emigration from the Baltic States: Economic impact and policy implications

Godfried Engbersen Erasmus University Rotterdam


Joost Jansen

Erasmus University Rotterdam

This chapter analyses the extent and contexts of Baltic migration flows, and sketches a profile of Baltic emigrant populations. The potential economic impact of high negative net migration on these countries is addressed, along with relevant findings from Poland and Romania. Policy strategies and initiatives taken by Baltic States and other emigration countries are presented and discussed. The chapter concludes by identifying areas requiring further research in matters pertaining to rising emigration, its economic impact and the conditions under which diaspora policies contribute to the economic development of home countries.


Emigration from the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) has rapidly increased over the past decades, a phenomenon that has accelerated dramatically since the three countries joined the European Union in 2004. This outflow of population is reflected in very high negative net migration rates and results in considerable depopulation. The governments of the states in question consider this development to be a serious and threatening problem. The Latvian Government, together with the OECD, therefore organised an international conference, held in Riga on December 17, 2012, to discuss the rapidly increasing emigration from the Baltics, its possible economic impact and initiatives to guarantee a healthy socio-economic future for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. This chapter summarises the main findings from the papers presented in this volume.

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