EU population rose by more than a million in 2014 – mainly because of migration

The population of the European Union increased from 506.9 million on January 1 2014 to 508.2 million a year later, driven partly by births exceeding deaths but mainly by net migration, EU statistics office Eurostat said on July 10.

During the year 2014, 5.1 million babies were born in the EU, while 4.9 million people died, meaning that the EU recorded a positive natural change of its population of 0.2 million, double that of 2013.

“The remainder of the change is driven mainly by net migration,” Eurostat said.

Germany (81.2 million residents), France (66.4 million), the United Kingdom (64.8 million) and Italy (60.8 million) are the most populated EU member states. Together, they are home to more than half of the EU population.

During 2014, the population increased in 16 EU member states and decreased in 12. The largest increase was observed in Luxembourg (+23.9 per 1000 residents), well ahead of Sweden (+10.6‰), Malta (+9.3‰), Austria (+9.1‰) and Denmark (+7.5‰).

In contrast, the largest decreases were recorded in Cyprus (-12.9‰), Greece (-8.4‰), Latvia (-7.7‰) and Lithuania (-7.6‰). In total, the population of the EU increased by slightly more than 1 million people (+2.2‰) during the year 2014.

Accounting for 16 per cent of total EU population, Germany continues to be the most populated member state, ahead of France (13.1 per cent), the United Kingdom (12.9 per cent), Italy (12 per cent), Spain (9.1 per cent) and Poland (7.5 per cent).

Compared with 1995, Spain (from 8.2 per cent of total EU population in 1995 to 9.1 per cent in 2015, or +0.9 percentage points), France (+0.8 pp) and the United Kingdom (+0.7 pp) were the member states having increased the most their weight in total EU population, while Germany (-0.9 pp), Romania (-0.8 pp) and Poland (-0.5 pp) registered the largest relative falls.

During the year 2014, 5.1 million babies were born in the EU, 33 000 more than the previous year.

Across member states, the highest crude birth rates in 2014 were recorded in Ireland (14.4 per 1 000 residents), France (12.4‰), the United Kingdom (12.0‰) and Sweden (11.9‰), while the lowest were registered in Portugal (7.9‰), Italy (8.3‰), Greece (8.5‰) and Germany (8.6‰).

At EU level, the crude birth rate was 10.1 per 1000 residents.

There were 4.9 million deaths registered in the EU in 2014, 46 600 less than the previous year.

Bulgaria (15.1 per 1 000 residents) had in 2014 the highest crude death rate, followed by Latvia (14.3‰), Lithuania (13.7‰), Hungary (12.8‰) Romania (12.7‰) and Croatia (12.0‰).

At the opposite end of the scale, Cyprus (6.2‰), Ireland (6.4‰) and Luxembourg (6.9‰) recorded the lowest.

The crude death rate was 9.7 per 1000 residents in the EU. Consequently, the highest positive natural change of the population (the difference between live births and deaths expressed per 1000 residents) was registered by far in Ireland (+8.1‰). Cyprus (+4.7‰), France and Luxembourg (both +4.0‰) and the United Kingdom (+3.2‰) had also notable positive natural change of their population in 2014.

Among the 11 EU member states which registered a negative natural change in 2014, the largest were to be found in Bulgaria (-5.7‰), Romania (-3.5‰), Latvia and Lithuania (both -3.4‰) and Hungary (-3.3‰).

It should also be noted that though total population increased in 2015 in Germany and Italy, the natural change was negative in both member states, meaning that the population growth recorded in 2014 was driven by net migration, Eurostat said.

The Eurostat report said that on January 1 2014, the population of Bulgaria was 7 245 700, and on January 1 2015 it was 7 202 200, a drop of six per cent.

In 2014, there were 67 600 live births in Bulgaria and 109 000 deaths – a natural change to the population of minus 41.4 per cent.

Bulgaria accounted for a share of just 1.4 per cent of the total EU population, Eurostat said.

(Photo: Abdulhamid AlFadhly/



The Sofia Globe staff

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