63 300 unaccompanied minors among asylum seekers registered in the EU in 2016

63 300 unaccompanied minors among asylum seekers registered in the EU in 2016

63 300 unaccompanied minors among asylum seekers registered in the EU in 2016

The FINANCIAL -- In 2016, 63 300 asylum seekers applying for international protection in the Member States of the European Union (EU) were considered to be unaccompanied minors, a number down by about a third compared with 2015 (with almost 96 500 unaccompanied minors registered) but still about 5 times higher than the annual average during the period 2008-2013 (around 12 000 per year).

In 2016, a substantial majority of unaccompanied minors were males (89%) and over two-thirds were aged 16 to 17 (68%, or about 43 300 persons), while those aged 14 to 15 accounted for 21% (around 13 500 persons) and those aged less than 14 for 10% (almost 6 300 persons). More than a third (38%) of asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors in the EU in 2016 were Afghans and about a fifth (19%) Syrians.

Six in ten applied for asylum in Germany

In 2016, the highest number of asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors was registered in Germany (with almost 36 000 unaccompanied minors, or 57% of all those registered in the EU Member States), followed by Italy (6 000, or 10%), Austria (3 900, or 6%), the United Kingdom (3 200, or 5%), Bulgaria (2 750, or 4%), Greece (2 350, or 4%) and Sweden (2 200, or 3%). Among Member States with more than 1 000 asylum seekers considered to be unaccompanied minors in 2016, numbers rose most compared with the previous year in Greece (over 1 900 more unaccompanied minors in 2016 than in 2015, or +460%), Germany (13 700 more, or +61%), Bulgaria (935 more, or +51%) and Italy (1 950 more, or +48%). In contrast, the largest decreases were recorded in Sweden (with over 33 000 fewer unaccompanied minors in 2016 than in 2015, or -94%), Hungary (7 600 fewer, or -86%), Belgium (1 800 fewer, or -64%), the Netherlands (2 150 fewer, or -56%) and Austria (4 400 fewer, or -53%).

Over half of young asylum seekers were unaccompanied minors in Slovenia and Italy

The largest shares of unaccompanied minors among all young asylum applicants in 2016 were recorded notably in Slovenia (where 57% of all asylum applicants aged less than 18 were unaccompanied in 2016), Italy (54%) and Denmark (49%), followed by Bulgaria (42%), Croatia (36%), the United Kingdom (34%), Cyprus (32%) and the Netherlands (27%). In total in the EU, unaccompanied minors accounted for 16% of all asylum applicants aged less than 18 in 2016.

Almost 4 out of 10 unaccompanied minors were Afghans

Most of the asylum applicants considered unaccompanied minors in the EU Member States were Afghans (38% of the total number of unaccompanied minors registered in 2016) or Syrians (19%).

Of the 24 000 Afghans considered unaccompanied minors in the EU in 2016, nearly two-thirds were registered in Germany (15 000). Afghans represented the most numerous citizenship of asylum seekers considered unaccompanied minors in half of the EU Member States.

Of the 12 000 Syrians seeking protection in the EU Member States and considered unaccompanied minors in 2016, 8 in 10 applied in Germany (10 000).