Around 600,000 Hungarians could be living abroad according to data compiled by economic news website portfolio.hu, substantially more than previous estimates.
The news portal acknowledges that no database exists which measures intra-EU migration, thus settling on a reliable estimate of Hungarians abroad is quite difficult. While several such estimates have been prepared by other publications and by Hungary’s Central Statistical Office, the data is often several years old and is compiled via differing methods among various EU countries, making an accurate figure even less likely.
Additionally, such figures do not take into account people working illegally in other EU Member States. The data also does not reflect commuters who work in neighboring countries such as Austria and, to a lesser degree, Slovakia.
Taking these factors into account, portfolio.hu contacted each of the EU Member States directly for official statistics on how many Hungarians lived in those countries. The survey deliberately left out neighboring countries Slovakia, Romania and Slovenia due to large numbers of Hungarian minorities born in those countries, which would have distorted the data. Bulgaria, Estonia, Malta, the Netherlands and Portugal either did not answer requests for data, or were unable to provide statistics.
The following picture emerged from the responses, which represents the most recent (2016) data.
According to the data (translations from top to bottom: Germany, France, UK, Austria, Sweden, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, Greece, Finland, Luxembourg, Poland, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania), some 570,000 Hungarians are living abroad in other EU countries.
But several elements of the data appear unrealistically distorted, according to portfolio.hu. For example, 146,000 Hungarians living in France appears to be such a significant exaggeration that the news portal considered the figure a technical error. The estimate of Hungarians residing in the UK also appeared at first glance to be unrealistically low.
After making corrections to the data based on other data sets (from eurostat, for example), the final probable number of Hungarians living in the EU was pushed slightly above 600,000.