Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

The EU's inhabitants are becoming fewer and fewer

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Tuesday, July 12th 2022 à 15:40 | Read 287 times

The EU population is in decline (graph: Eurostat)
The EU population is in decline (graph: Eurostat)
EU. A communication from Eurostat, on the occasion of World Population Day proposed by the United Nations, reveals that the number of inhabitants of the European Union (EU) declined again in 2021. It has fallen from 447 million on 1 January 2021 to 446.8 million on 1 January 2022.

The European Commission's Directorate-General for Statistics attributes this decline to the impact of Covid-19, with 644 000 more deaths than in 2019. "The negative natural change (more deaths than births) exceeded the positive net migration for a second year, probably due to the pandemic. In the EU, there were 531,000 more deaths in 2020 than in 2019 and 113,000 more deaths in 2021 than in 2020," said a Eurostat release.

From 1960 to 2022, the EU's population nevertheless increased by 92.3 million people, from 354.5 to 446.8 million. But this growth has been slowed down for two decades, with an average increase of 0.7 million people per year over the period 2005-2022, compared to 3.0 million in the 1960s.

France has gained nearly 200,000 inhabitants by 2021

Mediterranean countries account for the majority of the EU's population (chart: Eurostat)
Mediterranean countries account for the majority of the EU's population (chart: Eurostat)
Germany remains by far the largest EU country in terms of population with 83.2 million inhabitants, compared to 0.5 million in Malta, the least populated Member State. Germany, France and Italy account for 47% of the total EU population on 1 January 2022.

Of the seventeen EU Member States where the population has increased in 2021, nine have experienced both natural increase and positive net migration contributing to their population growth (Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, France, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Sweden). In eight Member States (Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Lithuania, Austria, Portugal and Finland), positive net migration was the driving force behind population growth, while natural increase was negative.

With almost 230 million inhabitants, the countries of southern Europe account for more than half of the EU's population. However, their situation is rather disparate. Of the ten countries with a decline between 1 January 2021 and 1 January 2022, Italy (-253,100) has the largest decline in the EU and Slovenia (-1,800) has the smallest decline.

France stands out with the largest increase of the twenty-seven Member States. It gained 185 900 inhabitants over the same period.

8 billion people on Earth in November 2022

As for the world's population, it is growing at its slowest rate since 1950, with an increase of less than 1% in 2020. Our planet should welcome its "eight billionth inhabitant on 15 November 2022", according to a statement made on Monday 11 July 2022 by António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, relying on the report of his institution "World Population Prospects 2022". The same study estimates the number of inhabitants on Earth at 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion in the 2080s.

"It took hundreds of thousands of years for the world's population to reach one billion, but only 200 years for it to increase sevenfold," said a UN statement, recalling that the seven billion mark had been passed in 2011.

More than half of all births between now and 2050 will come from sub-Saharan Africa and mainly from eight countries: Egypt, Ethiopia, India (which will become in 2023 with 1.4 billion inhabitants the most populated country in the world, overtaking China), Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.

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