Background - Population (Demography, Migration and Projections)


Data on population demography and migration is collected every year: countries report to Eurostat their population on the 1st of January, along with breakdowns of the population by various characteristics. Data on vital events (births, deaths) and migration (number of immigrants and emigrants that year, as well as acquisitions of citizenship) are also reported, resulting in a wealth of information on European population. In contrast with census data, which is usually collected every ten years, this data is updated every year.

The demography and migration data disseminated by Eurostat come mainly from the National Statistical Institutes (for more details, see also the Methodology section and the Metadata attached to the data tables), from which Eurostat calculates a series of demographic indicators.

Based on population, vital events and migration trends Eurostat also produces population projections every three years, to estimate the likely future size and structure of population.

Uses of the data

Demography and migration statistics are widely used for planning actions, monitoring and evaluating programmes in a number of policy areas in the social and economic fields, such as:

  • Analysis of population ageing and its effects on sustainability and welfare;
  • Evaluation of fertility as a background for family policies;
  • Evaluation of the economic impact of demographic change;
  • Calculation of 'per capita' indicators;
  • Key input for the EU decision-making process, as population defines the weight of each Member State in the Qualified Majority Voting of the Council of the EU.