Back EU population continues to decrease for a second year


© Andrea Danti/

On the occasion of World Population Day, we take the opportunity to highlight the data published today on EU population.

After a first decline in population growth in 2020 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the EU’s population decreased again in 2021, from 447 million on 1 January 2021 to 446.8 on 1 January 2022. The negative natural change (more deaths than births) outnumbered the positive net migration for a second year, most likely due to the impact of the pandemic. In the EU, there were 531 000 more deaths in 2020 than in 2019 to be compared to 113 000 more deaths in 2021 than in 2020.

This information comes from data on population published by Eurostat today. This article presents only a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article on population and population change statistics.


Line graph: EU population, on 1 January, millions persons, 1960-2022

Source dataset: demo_gind


Over a longer period, the population of the EU grew from 354.5 million in 1960 to 446.8 million on 1 January 2022, an increase of 92.3 million people. The rate of population growth has slowed down gradually in recent decades: for example, the EU population increased, on average, by about 0.7 million persons per year during the period 2005–2022, compared with an average increase of around 3.0 million persons per year during the 1960s.


Line graph: Population, % of EU population, 1 January 2022

Source dataset: demo_gind

The population of individual EU Member States on 1 January 2022 ranged from 0.5 million in Malta to 83.2 million in Germany. Germany, France and Italy together comprised almost half (47%) of the total EU population on 1 January 2022.

While the overall EU population declined for a second straight year, population declines were not reported in every Member State. In total, 10 countries recorded a decrease in population between 1 January 2021 and 2022, with the largest decrease reported in Italy (-253 100) and the smallest in Slovenia (-1 800). Increases were observed in the other 17 countries, with the largest in France (185 900) and the smallest in Estonia (1 700).


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