EU Population Set To Drop By 27.3m People By 2100

Charles Oladimeji
New projections indicate that the European Union is approaching a crucial turning point in terms of demographics, with a notable population decline anticipated by the end of the century.
European Union
Flag of the European Union. Photo: Christian Lue | Unsplash

Eurostat’s recently published population projections reveal a concerning trend for the European Union, with a projected decrease of 27.3 million people, or a 6% decline in the population, between 2022 and 2100. 
Although the COVID-19 pandemic significantly reduced the population in 2020 and 2021, the EU has since experienced a turnaround, a major factor being the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War.

This conflict has forced thousands of Ukrainians to flee to the EU seeking refuge, resulting in the population reaching 451 million people as of January 2023. It remains unclear whether this trend will continue in the long run, given the volatile nature of the conflict and its uncertain future. However, despite this growth, projections suggest that the population will peak at 453 million people in 2026 before gradually declining.

By January 1st, 2100, the population is estimated to decrease to as few as 420 million individuals. This projection was formulated by analyzing the historical fertility rates, mortality rates, and migration patterns across the continent.

EU’s Population Pyramid 

World Globe with Europe in Focus. Christian Lue | Unsplash

The population pyramid of the European Union in 2022 reflected the effects of increased life expectancies, with low death rates and birth rates, resulting in a higher proportion of working-age individuals. Notably, the share of young people aged 20 and below was significantly smaller compared to previous years.

However, projections for 2100 reveal a shift towards a shrinking and aging society, with a substantial decrease in the proportion of working-age individuals and young people and an increase in the share of those aged 65 or older. This suggests that within a century, the European Union will have more older adults than younger individuals.

Specifically, the percentage of children and young adults in the population is projected to decline from 20% in 2022 to 18% in 2100, while the percentage of working-age individuals is projected to decline from 59% to 50%. Moreover, the percentage of individuals aged 65 to 79 is expected to increase from 15% in 2022 to 17% in 2100, and the percentage of those aged 80 and above is predicted to more than double, from 6% to 15%. 

The Implications of the EU’s Population Decline

Montmartre Streets in Paris, Europe. Photo: John Towner | Unsplash

The population projection is not only significant in its scale but could also have profound and long-lasting effects on the European Union. The changing proportions of population segments in the continent may have implications for economic, social, and political stability. According to projections by Eurostat, the European Union is expected to experience a decline in its workforce population, which could have detrimental effects on the productivity and growth potential of the economy.

In addition, the predicted situation may strain public finances as there are fewer individuals of working age contributing to the social security system, while the elderly population relies on more significant benefits such as pensions and healthcare. It could potentially impact government budgets and tax revenues.

The major demographic challenges include an aging population, a declining workforce, and changing social dynamics. The projected decline in the EU’s population underscores the need for proactive and forward-thinking policies that promote sustainable growth and address demographic challenges.

We would appreciate your thoughts on the projected population decline in the EU. Please feel free to share your opinions in the comments section.


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