Eurostat’s estimates indicate the European continent could see its population shrink by 6% or 27.3 million people by 2100. After two years of decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU population began to recover in 2022 and is estimated to have reached 451 million at the beginning of this year. This growth is largely attributed to the massive influx of Ukrainian refugees caused by the conflict that is still ongoing.
The latest report from the EU statistical office predicts that the bloc’s population will continue to grow, peaking at 453 million in 2026, before falling to 420 million in 2100. The projections are based on the continent’s fertility, mortality and migration patterns. The population pyramid of 2100 predicts a shrinking and aging society. The share of children, young people under the age of 20 and people of working age will decrease, while people aged 65 or older will grow in numbers. By 2100, those over 65 will account for 32% of the population, up from 21% in 2022. As a result, the projected population pyramid will be much heavier at the top than it is today: there will be more people over 80 than those under 20.
The projections come after China made headlines earlier this year when it recorded its first population decline in six decades. According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, the country had 1.41175 billion people at the end of 2022, a decline of 850,000 as deaths exceeded births. And what is Europe’s fertility rate? The average fertility rate in the EU of 1.53 live births per woman in 2021 is slightly higher than in 2020 (1.50), but down from 1.57 in 2016. The lowest total fertility rates in 2021 were in Malta (1.13 births per woman), Spain (1.19) and Italy (1.25). France ranks first, with an average fertility rate of 1.84, followed by the Czech Republic (1.83), Romania (1.81) and Ireland (1.78). The natural population change in the EU has been negative since 2012, meaning that for more than a decade, there have been more deaths than births. Since 2011, EU population growth has been attributed to net migration and statistical adjustments. However, in 2020 and 2021, net migration did not compensate for the negative natural change in the EU population and, as a result, the total EU population shrank.
The EU and China have different migration dynamics. The graph in Eurostat’s projections compares their net migration rate–the difference between the number of immigrants (moving to a country) and the number of emigrants (leaving) during the year. When the number of immigrants exceeds the number of emigrants, the net migration rate is positive. However, despite having appointed a Vice President of the European Commission, who is supposed to deal with the declining birth rate and how to foster population growth, Europe is doing nothing to counteract its own extinction and, going forward at this rate, the only anchor of ‘salvation’ will be that of ethnic, religious and racial replacement of European populations by Asian, Arab and African ones. Everyone, except Poland and Hungary, is resigned … for now.
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