More Europeans

Say hello to another 1,276,000 inhabitants of the EU in 2003, bringing the total to 380.8 million people on January 1st 2004. Most of them were immigrants, out of the total increase of 3.4 people for every 1000 inhabitants, 2.6 was down to net migration while only 0.8 was accounted for by natural increase (births minus deaths).

The report, a first estimate by Eurostat (and thus may be heavily revised), shows some large differences between countries. Overall, the largest increases were in Ireland (1.5%), Spain (0.7%) and Portugal (0.6%), with the smallest in Germany (+0.01%), Denmark and Greece (0.3%).

Live births increased over the post-war low recorded in 2002, reaching 4.03 million. The highest rate was in Ireland (15.5 per 1000 inhabitants, or 1.5%) and France (12.7 per 1000), while Germany (8.6), Greece (9.3) and Italy (9.4) saw the lowest. Deaths rose to 3.74 million as an aging population outweighed longer life-expectancy per person. The highest rate was in Germany (10.4 per 1000 inhabitants) while the lowest was in Ireland (7.4). Ireland thus had the highest rate of natural increase (8.1 per 1000 inhabitants), while Germany saw a natural decrease (1.8).

However thanks to migration, which accounted for 3/4 of the total population increase, no EU country saw a fall in population. Contrary to British tabloid myth the UK did not account for a disproportionate number of migrants, the leader Spain took 23% of all the net migration, Italy 21%, Germany 16% and the United Kingdom 10%. In terms of per inhabitant Ireland, Portugal and Spain led the way.

Overall then Europe’s population is growing, but unevenly and certainly not rapidly. Things however could be worse — half of the Acceding countries saw their population fall, in particular Latvia (-0.6%) and Lithuania (-0.5%).

9 thoughts on “More Europeans

  1. It’d be interesting to know what immigrants from where were going where…

    And what possible geo-social forces, if any, might be driving that migration.

  2. Eastern Germany to Ireland, and they’re looking to get employed at a lower wage rather than staying on the dole in the land of a theoretically higher one. :^)

    Bernard Guerrero, broken record

  3. Overall, the largest increases were in Ireland (1.5%),[…] Live births increased over the post-war low recorded in 2002, reaching 4.03 million. The highest rate was in Ireland (15.5 per 1000 inhabitants, or 1.5%)

    Am I correct in interpreting this to mean that there was no net migration to/from Ireland ?

  4. East German migration seems to be overwhelmingly to West Germany, as this Council of Europe report suggests:

    “The differing trends in Western and Eastern Germany which have existed since the reunification continued in this period. The population in Western Germany (including West Berlin) rose to 67 140 000 (+ 194 000). In Eastern Germany (including East Berlin), as in the preceding years, the population fell to 15 119 000 (-98,000).”

  5. “It’d be interesting to know what immigrants from where were going where…”

    In Spain it is mainly from Latin America, half a million a year undocumented (entry visas with no return) according to stats from the Spanish Government provided to Argentina. At the same time Spain is trying to turn its back on Morrocco and Sub Saharan Africa.

    Look, all this is immensly complicated, the natural rate of population change is still positive due to living longer, not due to fertility. So really this ‘improvement’ without raising the pensionable age means a heavier burden on health and medicine. And soon the natural rate is really going to turn south in most EU countries.

    Secondly, the big, big warning signal should come from looking at those accession country numbers. This is franky alarming, but there is no recognition at all that this is a crisis situation in the EU discourse.

  6. Patrick,

    As you say, and sorry it wasn’t helped by my switching from % to per 1000 halfway through.

    Matt

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