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Debates among Tbilisi mayoral candidates were held on TV3 on 29 May 2014. Dimitri Lortkipanidze, Tbilisi mayoral candidate from the Nino Burjanadze-United Opposition party, stated the following: “Every year, up to 80,000 people leave the country for abroad without coming back.”

FactCheck

took interest in this issue and verified Dimitri Lortkipanidze’s statement.

FactCheck

requested relevant official data and tried to figure out whether or not the number of emigrants exceeds the number of immigrants every year by 80,000 persons.

According to the GeoStat, since 2000 the migration balance (the difference between emigrants and immigrants) was negative and in most cases it implies that more people were leaving the country than entering it. However, according to indicators from 2004-2005 and 2009-2011, the migration balance was positive. The figure from 2013 amounted to -2.6 thousand people but this number is about 19,000 units less than the corresponding figure in 2012 when the migration balance was equal to -21.5 thousand. According to the official data from the last 14 years, the migration balance was mostly negative but this figure was never less than -35.2 thousand. Specifically, for the previous 14 years, the number of emigrants has never exceeded the number of immigrants by 35.2 thousand (during one year).

FactCheck

requested statistical data about displaced Georgian citizens at the state border from Geostat. The Border Police of Georgia is conducting these aforementioned statistics. The obtained information includes the exact number of Georgian citizens who have left and entered the country since 2003 until now (see table below). For seven of the last 11 years, Georgian citizens left Georgian territory more times than they entered it. It should be noted here that since 2003 the difference between leaving and entering the country has never been more than 32,212. This figure was recorded in 2003 when Georgian citizens left the territory of the country 32,212 times more than they entered the country.

Statistical Data of Displaced Georgian Citizens at the State Border
Year Entering Leaving Balance
2003 324,823 357,035 -32,212
2004 544,753 539,279 5,474
2005 909,424 833,113 76,311
2006 1,161,989 1,174,119 -12,130
2007 1,441,642 1,473,437 -31,795
2008 1,841,693 1,862,420 -20,727
2009 1,984,210 1,979,635 4,575
2010 2,089,286 2,089,940 -654
2011 2,233,589 2,238,527 -4,938
2012 2,739,231 2,733,697 5,534
2013 3,207,376 3,219,628 -12,258
GeoStat also provided FactCheck

with official data about the number of emigrants and immigrants in 2012 and 2013. According to this information, the number of emigrants in 2012 was equal to 90,584 while the number of emigrants in 2013 amounted to 95,064. In both cases the number of emigrants is more than 80,000 people; however, it should be taken into consideration that the number of emigrants in 2012 was equal to 69,063 and the same figure was equal to 92,458 in 2013. Accordingly, the number of emigrants in 2012 was 21,521 people more than compared to the number of immigrants while the number of emigrants in 2013 was 2,606 people more than compared to the number of immigrants.

  Conclusion FactCheck

relied upon official information obtained from GeoStat during its research. According to GeoStat’s data, the migration balance was positive in several cases for the previous years. For the previous 14 years, the largest negative indicator was recorded in 2000 and amounted to approximately 35,000 people.

FactCheck also studied the statistics of the Ministry of Internal Affairs about displaced Georgian citizens at the state border. As a result of calculating the data from those years when the number of Georgian citizens leaving the country exceeded the number of citizens entering the country, it turns out that for the previous years on average about 16,000 people more were leaving the country than coming back. This number is five times less than 80, 000 people which is the number stated by Dimitri Lortkipanidze. FactCheck concludes that Dimitri Lortkipanidze’s statement, “Every year, up to 80,000 people leave the country for abroad without coming back,” is FALSE.