Romania is among a group of several Eastern Europe countries that are set to experience a decline of over 15% in their population by 2050, according to the UN World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision report.
Romania is expected to see its population shrink by 17% between 2017 and 2050 to a projected 16.3 million.
This places Romania alongside Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Republic of Moldova, Serbia, and Ukraine, which all are expected to see their populations decrease by more than 15% by 2050. Bulgaria, Latvia, and Moldova are predicted to see the highest decreases, of 23%, 22% and 19% respectively.
The decrease comes against a Europe-wide fertility level below the margin required for replacement of the population in the long run. This should be of around 2.1 births per woman on average.
“Fertility for Europe as a whole is projected to increase from 1.6 births per woman in 2010-2015 to nearly 1.8 in 2045-2050. Such an increase, however, will not prevent a likely contraction in the size of the total population,” the report notes.
In addition to the demographic decline, Romania is faced with an increased level of emigration.
In 2016, Romania lost slightly over 68,000 people only due to the natural decline (the number of live births minus number of deaths). Meanwhile, emigration was the second biggest cause of the country’s population decline, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
At the same time, the average annual growth rate of Romania’s diaspora population was of 7.3% between 2005 and 2015, one of the fastest in the world, according to the United Nations’ 2015 International Migration Report. Italy and Spain are among the European countries hosting large communities of Romanians.
A recent analysis of the French newspaper Liberation points out that Romania is the country who has lost most of its population in recent year after war-stricken Syria, and that each year Romania loses the equivalent of an 85,000-people city.