As at January 1 2019, Latvia had the largest annual population decrease in the European Union, dropping by 7.5 percentage points, with the populations of Bulgaria and Croatia both dropping by 7.1 per cent, EU statistics agency Eurostat said.
These countries were among 10 in the EU where the population had decreased by January 1 2019, compared with a year earlier, Eurostat said.
On January 1 2019, the population of the EU was estimated at almost 513.5 million, compared with 512.4 million on January 1 2018.
During 2018, more deaths than births were recorded in the EU (5.3 million deaths and five million births), meaning that the natural change of the EU population was negative for a second consecutive year. The population change (positive, with 1.1 million more inhabitants) was therefore due to net migration.
With 83 million residents (or 16.2 per cent of the total EU population at January 1 2019), Germany is the most populated EU member state, ahead of France (67 million, or 13.1 per cent), the United Kingdom (66.6 million, or 13 per cent), Italy (60.4 million, or 11.8 per cent), Spain (46.9 million, or 9.1 per cent) and Poland (38 million, or 7.4 per cent).
Notably, should Brexit go ahead – whether on October 31 or before the end of 2019 – the statistics for the EU’s population will change, when next Eurostat issues an update, for the numbers as of January 1 2020.
During 2018, the population increased in 18 EU countries.
The largest population increase was observed in Malta (+36.8 per 1 000 residents), ahead of Luxembourg (+19.6‰), Ireland (+15.2‰), Cyprus (+13.4‰), Sweden (+10.8‰), Slovenia (+6.8‰), Belgium (+6.1‰), Spain and the Netherlands (both +5.9‰) and the United Kingdom (+5.6‰).
In contrast, the largest population decrease was recorded in Latvia (-7.5‰), followed by Bulgaria and Croatia (both -7.1‰), Romania (-6.6‰) and Lithuania (-5.3‰).
The population of the entire EU increased by 1.1 million people (+2.1‰) during 2018.
During the year 2018, five million babies were born in the EU, almost 118 000 fewer than the previous year.
Across member states, the highest crude birth rates in 2018 were recorded in Ireland (12.5 per 1 000 residents), Sweden (11.4‰), France (11.3‰) and the United Kingdom (11.0‰), while the lowest were registered in Italy (7.3‰), Spain (7.9‰), Greece (8.1‰), Portugal (8.5‰), Finland (8.6‰), Bulgaria (8.9‰) and Croatia (9.0‰).
At EU level, the crude birth rate was 9.7 per 1 000 residents.
In the meantime, 5.3 million deaths were registered in the EU in 2018, almost 46 000 more than the previous year. Ireland (6.4 per 1 000 residents), Cyprus (6.6‰) and Luxembourg (7.1‰) had in 2018 the lowest crude death rates, followed by Malta (7.6‰), the Netherlands (8.9‰), Spain and Sweden (both 9.1‰).
At the opposite end of the scale, Bulgaria (15.4‰), Latvia (15.0‰), Lithuania (14.1‰), Romania (13.5‰) and Hungary (13.4‰) recorded the highest.
For the EU as a whole, the crude death rate was 10.4 per 1 000 residents.
Consequently, Ireland (with a natural change of its population of +6.1‰) remained in 2018 the member state where births most outnumbered deaths, ahead of Cyprus (+4.1‰), Luxembourg (+3.2‰), Sweden (+2.3‰), France (+2.2‰), the United Kingdom (+1.7‰) and Malta (+1.6‰).
In contrast, among the 15 EU member states which registered a negative natural change in 2018, deaths outnumbered births the most in Bulgaria (-6.6‰), followed by Latvia (-4.9‰), Lithuania (-4.1‰), Croatia, Hungary and Romania (all -3.9‰), Eurostat said.
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