Europe's population stats show new trends

Luxembourg's population grew at the fastest rate, while Ireland had the highest birth rate, new figures from Eurostat show

Akira Suemori / AP / File
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron reacts as baby Daphne Poppy Hancock starts crying during a reception to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Royal British Legion at 10 Downing Street, in London, June 10, 2011. More babies were born in Britain and France than in Germany, 2010 population figures show.

Eurostat today released 2010 population figures for the EU-- Some of the more interesting facts include:

-Luxembourg had the fastest population growth rate, 1.9% (mostly net immigration), followed by Sweden, Malta, Belgium and Britain. Lithuania's population decreased the most, by 2.6% (mostly net emigration). Several other eastern European countries, including Latvia, also had a falling population, as did Germany and Portugal.

Outside the EU, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey had high population growth, driven mainly by immigration in the cases of Norway and Switzerland and a high birth rate in Turkey. Iceland had a falling population despite a high birth rate due to a high level of net emigration

-Germany may have a stronger economy than Ireland, but Ireland's birth rate was nearly twice as high. That however partly reflects the fact that a higher proportion of Ireland's population is women of childbearing age, so the difference in fertility rate isn't quite as big. The high birth rate in Ireland meant that its population grew despite a high level of net emigration.

-Of the large countries, Britain had the highest population growth, while Germany as stated above had a slight decrease in its population. France, Italy and Spain had somewhat lower and Poland significantly lower population growth than Britain.

Given that more babies are born in Britain and France than in Germany, they will likely overtake Germany in population within the coming decades. Turkey will likely do that before 2020.

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