Lithuania's emigration rate remains higher than last year
Statistics show that Lithuania's official emigration rate did not slow down in April and remained higher than in the same period last year.
According to figures provided to BNS by Statistics Lithuania, 4,643 people emigrated from the country last month, 37 people more than in March and 920 more than a year ago.
Some 1,790 people immigrated to Lithuania in April, 20 fewer than in March.
Lithuania last year lost around 30,000 people due to emigration to Western Europe and the pace of declared emigration quickened further at the start of this year as around 7,000 people reported their emigration in January and February each.
Some experts call it a temporary trend, noting that some people probably rushed to report their departure to the authorities in order to be exempted from the obligation to pay the compulsory health insurance tax. Brexit is seen as another possible reason for the rise.
Polls suggest that most emigrants leave Lithuania for Western Europe in search of higher pay. Some experts say that emigration is also driven by high income inequality.
Emigration may bring short-term benefits to the economy in the form of emigrants' remittances and lower unemployment. However, the current scale of emigration poses risks as a labor shortage begins to emerge and it becomes more difficult to finance pensions, healthcare and education.
The central Bank of Lithuania warned on Tuesday that given the scale of emigration, low birth rate and population ageing, the state will not be able to ensure that people have sufficient income in their old age unless it undertakes reforms in the near future.
The Lithuanian population shrank from 3.7 million in 1990 to 2.83 million this year due to ageing and emigration.