Demographic Comparisons of Syrian Populations

  • Elwood D. CarlsonEmail author
  • Nathalie E. Williams
Part of the European Studies of Population book series (ESPO, volume 20)


Most Syrians who fled their country starting in 2011 remain in adjacent Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, but about one in six lived in European countries by 2018. Compared to the 2009 population of Syria, elderly persons were less likely to be included in these migrant populations. Children were also under-represented among Syrians in European countries, but over-represented in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Sex ratios are closest to a normal balance in the adjacent Middle Eastern countries, and more unbalanced towards a masculine ratio (particularly in the prime working ages) in European destinations. The Syrian newcomers are less educated than the native populations of nearly all destination countries, but actually are more educated on average than the population in Syria that they left behind. A tendency for more Syrians to flee to countries where more Syrians already lived before 2011 suggests some degree of path dependence in these population movements, but this pattern cannot explain the disproportionate concentration of Syrians in some countries, notably Turkey and Germany.


Syrian migrants Europe Middle East Path dependence Sex ratio Age distribution 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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