Eurostat: Romania sees largest population decline, Bucharest the highest increase
Romania has registered the largest absolute population decline in the last decade, with over one million residents, in the EU. At the same time, the Ilfov-Bucharest area is the region with the highest percentage increase in population, over 40%, according to data collected by Eurostat after the general census of all EU member states.
Romania ranks sixth in terms of population in the EU, with 19.05 million residents, followed by the Netherlands (17.4 million). The five most populous countries in the EU in 2021 were Germany (83.2 million people), France (67.9 million), Italy (59.0 million), Spain (47.4 million), and Poland (37.0 million), according to Eurostat data cited by G4Media.
Compared to 2011 data, it appears that the population has increased the most in absolute terms in Germany (an increase of over 3 million people), while the highest growth rate was observed in Malta (24.5%). Compared to a decade ago, the largest absolute decline was recorded in Romania, a decrease of over one million people, from 20.1 million to 19.05 million, while Bulgaria recorded the largest relative population decline of 11.5%.
In comparison with the population and housing census of 2011, the data from the 2021-2022 census indicate, in general, population increases in the western and northern EU and decreases in the east and south.
In terms of regional variation, the largest population increases were recorded in the Ilfov region (+40%), the German region of Wartburgkreis (+27%), Luxembourg (+26%), the Maltese regions of Gozo and Comino, and the French region of Guyane (25% each), as well as in Malta (+24%).
The largest population declines compared to 2011 were recorded in the regions of Bulgaria and Croatia, where 18 regions recorded a population decline ranging from -17% to -25%.
Among medium-sized countries in terms of population, Sweden (10.5 million) surpassed Portugal (10.3 million). Malta (0.5 million), Luxembourg (0.6 million), and Cyprus (0.9 million) remained the smallest EU countries, with less than one million inhabitants.
At the regional level, the largest number of residents was recorded in the Madrid region (6.7 million people), followed by the Barcelona region (5.7 million) and the Rome region (4.2 million). At the same time, the smallest number of residents was recorded in the Spanish region of El Hierro (11,290), followed by the Greek region of Evrytania (17,428) and the Austrian region of Lungau (20,164).
Preliminary results for 2021 indicate a population increase in 16 EU countries, with the largest changes recorded in Luxembourg (+26%), Malta (+24%), and Sweden (+10%). At the same time, the population decreased in nine EU countries, with the largest declines recorded in Bulgaria (-11%), Croatia (-10%), Latvia (-9%), and Lithuania (-8%).
According to the latest demographic projections published by Eurostat, the EU population will decrease by 6% between January 1, 2022, and January 1, 2100, which means 27.3 million fewer people.
Eurostat estimates that the EU population will reach a peak of 453 million people in 2026 before declining to an estimated level of 420 million people in 2100.