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World Bank foresees massive emigration by 2050

TIRANA, July 17- A recent World Bank prediction shows that for 2017-2022 the net emigration, which is the difference between the departed and returned, will be 40 thousand persons less. The Bank predicts that net emigration will continue to decrease by the same rate of 40 thousand people every five years, bringing the total number of displaced persons to 280 thousand people by 2047. The almost zero natural population growth and the high level of emigration are shrinking Albania rapidly. The projections the World Bank forecasted are on the global population performance for the next three decades.

The difference between births and deaths, which determines the natural population growth, is narrowing rapidly year after year, warning that the number of deaths in Albania will be far higher than that of births. This would lead the country’s declining population without recuperation, without considering the emigration phenomenon.

The natural population growth in 2018 was 7130 people, the lowest level since at least 1948, a few years after the end of World War II, according to Albanian Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) data. However, the earliest but not grouped data from year to year shows that Albania has the natural population growth at the lowest level since 1923, as its growth during 1923-1945 was on average over 18 thousand people per year, according to official data.

According to the pessimistic version of the Population Department at the United Nations projections, it is predicted Albania’s population will be only 860 thousand inhabitants by 2100. The normal scenario predicts that the population will be 1 million and 600 thousand inhabitants. The optimistic scenario on the other hand, envisages zero emigration and normal fertility rates, and predicts that the population of the country will be 2 million and 800 thousand inhabitants by 2100, from about 2.9 million currently roughly counted.

The country experienced the greatest traumas of the immigration phenomenon in 1992 when net emigration recorded 443 thousand people, according to the World Bank. The shocking event was repeated at a strong pace in the period 1992-1997, with net emigration of 179 thousand people, the peak being in the period of the pyramidal schemes in 1997. Then, by 2002, about 93 thousand people left.

Albania ranks among countries with high emigration potential. According to a previous WB analysis, Albania has recorded the highest level of net emigration among all the countries of the region compared to the number of population. Net emigration during the period 2011-2015 was 91,750 persons. Serbia ranks second with a recorded net emigration of about 100 thousand people in the last five years, but its population is almost three times larger than Albania.

After a stabilization in the mid-2000s, emigration has begun to be emphasized after the 2008 crisis. With these rates, the Balkan region and especially Albania, is losing competitive advantage, human capital and labor force, which accounts for over 80 percent of exports in the country. Albania was ranked among the countries with high social risk potential, influenced by the high level of emigration, which combined with a fiscal crisis makes the country little coveted to do business with. 

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