The Population Of Europe Now Appears To Be Falling


In a significant turning point after decades of growth, the European Union (EU) has witnessed a decline of over half a million people since 2020, as reported by Eurostat, the EU’s statistical arm.

The decline can be attributed to multiple factors, primarily a rise in mortality rates and a decline in birth rates. At the heart of these issues lies the brutal and enduring COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has caused millions of deaths, particularly among older individuals, while also limiting social interactions for younger people.

Additionally, economic uncertainties have further contributed to couples delaying or opting out of having children.

The EU’s population stood at 447.49 million in January 2020. However, by 2021, this number decreased to 447 million, and the following year, it reached 446.74 million—a total decrease of 585,000 individuals.

The impact of COVID-19 cannot be understated. Eurostat has observed significant waves of “excess mortality,” indicating a higher number of deaths compared to expected levels during a given period. This excess mortality serves as a strong indicator of the novel pandemic’s toll since 2020.

Prior to the pandemic, the EU experienced modest population growth, with the total population increasing from 429.24 million in 2001 to 447.49 million in 2020—an overall growth of approximately 4 percent. However, the arrival of COVID-19 caused a devastating wave of deaths across the continent, reversing the trend of population growth.

The decline in Europe’s population may be a glimpse into the future for the rest of the world. While overpopulation was once a concern, current projections indicate that global population growth will largely stabilize by around 2100, followed by a sustained decline.

Last year, China experienced its first population decline since the 1960s. The consequences of this unprecedented global demographic shift remain uncertain. It could lead to prosperity or potentially trigger economic crises. Europe, for example, has seen divergent responses to the population decline, with some advocating for welcoming immigrants to offset the falling numbers while others have fostered anti-immigration sentiments.

The declining population in Europe serves as a stark reminder of the lasting impact of COVID-19 and its implications for demographic shifts worldwide. As populations continue to shrink, the future will undoubtedly bring forth new challenges and opportunities. The response to these changes will determine whether societies can navigate the demographic transition successfully, fostering prosperity and inclusivity or succumbing to economic crises and division.


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