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European Report, January 14, 2004


There were 380.8 million people living in the EU on January 1, 2004, according to figures just released by Eurostat, the EU's Statistical Office. In total, the EU population is estimated to have increased by 1,276,000 in 2003. The current twelve-nation Euro-zone's population is estimated at 306.9 million, and that of the 10 acceding countries at 74.1 million. The highest birth rates were recorded in Ireland and the highest death rates in Denmark. Most of the increase in the EU's population came from migration.

Although the populations of all the Member States increased in 2003, the changes were notably different. The largest increases were in Ireland (+15.3e), Spain (+7.2e) and Portugal (+6.9e), and the smallest in Germany (+0.1%), Denmark and Greece (+2.6e each). Half of the 10 acceding countries, in particular Latvia (-5.6e) and Lithuania (-4.5e), had declining populations in 2003, whilst the biggest rises were in Cyprus (+17.4e) and Malta (+5.7e). In the EU the population grew by 3.4 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2003, due to natural population growth and net migration of +0.8e and +2.6e respectively. On the other hand, and despite net migration (+0.4e), the population fell by 0.8e in the acceding countries, due to a negative natural growth of 1.2e. The natural population growth in the EU (live births minus deaths) is expected to decline from +309,000 in 2002 to +294,000 in 2003, and net migration should be also down, from +1,260,000 in 2002 to +983,000 in 2003.

Births and deaths
The highest birth rates were recorded in Ireland (15.5 live births per 1000 inhabitants), France (12.7e), the Netherlands (12.6e) and Denmark (12.0e). The lowest rates were registered in Germany (8.6%), Greece (9.3%), Italy (9.4%) and Austria (9.5e). In the acceding countries, the highest birth rate was found in Cyprus (11.1e, the only rate above the EU average of 10.6e), and the lowest in Slovenia (8.6e).

The highest mortality rates in 2003 were registered in Denmark (10.7 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants), Germany and Sweden (both 10.4%). Ireland (7.3e), with its relatively young population, is the Member State with the lowest rate, followed by Luxembourg (8.5e). In the new Member States, the highest death rate was found in Latvia (14.1e), and the lowest in Cyprus (7.8e). Consequently, the highest natural growth of the population was in Ireland (+8.3 per 1,000 inhabitants), well ahead of the Netherlands (+3.8e) and France (+3.5e). Three Member States recorded a negative natural growth: Germany (-1.8e), Italy (-0.8e) and Greece (-0.1e). In the acceding countries, there was a natural increase only in Cyprus (+3.3e) and Malta (+1.8e). The largest decreases were observed in Latvia (-5.2e) and Hungary (-3.9e).

In 2003, more than three-quarters of the increase in the EU's population came from cross-border migration. Spain accounted for 23% of all the net migration to Member States, Italy 21%, Germany 16% and the United Kingdom 10%. In relative terms, the largest net migratory flows were to Ireland, Portugal and Spain, with +7 per 1,000 inhabitants, +6.1e and +5.5e respectively. The Netherlands (+0.2e) and France (+1e) had the lowest migration rates. Without net inward migration, Germany, Italy and Greece would have seen a decline in their populations.

In 2003, four acceding countries recorded more emigration than immigration, in particular Lithuania (-1.4%), whilst the highest net migration rates were observed in Cyprus (+14.1%) and Malta (+3.9%).

<< European Report -- 1/14/04 >>

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