Four Decades of Cross-Mediterranean Undocumented Migration to Europe: A Review of the Evidence

The report reviews available evidence on trans-Mediterranean irregular migration to Europe along various routes going back to the 1970s, particularly on the magnitude of the flows, the evolution of sea routes to Southern Europe, the characteristics of migrants, the extent to which one can separate between economic and forced movements, and mortality during the sea journey. The report also reflects on the causes of the so-called migration crisis – a record-high number of undocumented arrivals by sea between 2014 and 2016 – and the reasons for the substantial decrease in numbers in 2017. It concludes by identifying future data and research needs.

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