Population Development in Europe

Although the population sizes of most European countries appear to be relatively stable, a long-term comparison reveals quite striking changes. These developments have particular impact on the attractiveness of these countries for the real estate and retail markets.
Changes in population are a function of many factors, including the birth rate and the balance of migration. The past 10 years show a clear trend: growth in Western and Souther Europe, decline in Eastern Europe.
In total, Europe’s population increased by some 15 million people during this time, mostly attributable to the increases in Turkey, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Spain. In absolute terms, the sharpest declines were registered in Ukraine, Germany, and Romania. In relative terms, populations grew most in the mini states of Luxembourg, Cyprus, Monaco, and San Marino – but also in Ireland, whose population increased by 14%. The largest relative declines were registered in Latvia, Lithuania, and Kosovo.
The declining German population is clearly a result of negative natural population growth, but it is also an effect of heretofore restrictive immigration policies, which only in recent years have allowed for a positive migration balance. In southwestern European countries, population growth has not been a result of a higher birth rate (as some would like to believe), but rather an effect of immigration. Europe’s higher birth rates are generally found in the northern (wealthier) countries.