Today no European country has a replacement total fertility rate of 2.1 and over half are below 1.5. Indeed the World total fertility rate has been falling for 60 years and will continue to do so.
In 2009 I highlighted the falling fertility of Europe. To see the real effect of falling fertility one can look at when populations will peak.
For Europeans, over a third of their countries have already passed their peak population. By 2050 over 75% of European countries will be peaked populations.
Of the twelve countries still to peak after 2050, only Turkey and the United Kingdom, it is estimated, will be growing at over 30,000 a year. In contrast, there will be nine countries that will be losing over 30,000 a year of their populations.
The Future of Europe
The future of European economies does not look promising as their populations fall. A declining population due to low fertility rates is accompanied by population aging. The young will have to increase per-capita output in order to support an infrastructure with costly, intensive care for the oldest among their population.
Many industrial economies have mortgaged the future by way of debt and retirement transfer payments that originally assumed rising tax revenues from a continually expanding population. As there would be fewer taxpayers in a declining population, this can contribute to a lower standard of living.
Because of labor shortages, labor-intensive sectors of the economy may be hurt if the shortage is severe enough. On the positive side, such a shortage increases the demand for labor, which can potentially result in a reduced unemployment rate as well as higher wages.
European Population Prospects
Click ONCE on column headers to sort.
|Country1||Peak Year||Peak||2010||2050||TFR||Year Δ|
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||1990||4,308,000||3,760,000||3,008,000||1.24||-28,000|
|Belgium||After 2050||After 2050||10,698,000||11,493,000||1.65||4,000|
|Cyprus||After 2050||After 2050||880,000||1,175,000||1.79||6,000|
|France||After 2050||After 2050||62,637,000||67,668,000||1.98||1,000|
|Ireland||After 2050||After 2050||4,589,000||6,295,000||1.85||30,000|
|Kazakhstan||After 2050||After 2050||15,753,000||17,848,000||1.88||9,000|
|Luxembourg||After 2050||After 2050||492,000||733,000||1.78||6,000|
|Norway||After 2050||After 2050||4,855,000||5,947,000||1.78||18,000|
|Spain||After 2050||After 2050||45,317,000||51,260,000||1.30||27,000|
|Sweden||After 2050||After 2050||9,293,000||10,571,000||1.67||26,000|
|Switzerland||After 2050||After 2050||7,595,000||8,514,000||1.44||18,000|
|Turkey||After 2050||After 2050||75,705,000||97,389,000||1.87||191,000|
|United Kingdom||After 2050||After 2050||61,899,000||72,365,000||1.66||211,000|
Table3 last updated January 8, 2011
1. The meaning of the column headers:
- Country — All European countries except the Vatican.
- Peak Year — The estimated population peak year, to a resolution of 5 years.
- Peak — The estimated population peak.
- 2010 — Essentially the current population.
- 2050 — The estimated population in 2050.
- TFR — The Total Fertility Rate is the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime.
- Year Δ — The estimated yearly change in population from 2045 to 2050.
2. International Data Base, all others World Population Prospects.
3. The more conservative medium fertility variant was used for most countries. Fertility is assumed to converge eventually toward a level of 1.85 children per woman. However, not all countries reach this level by 2045-2050. Projection procedures differ slightly depending on whether a country had a total fertility above or below 1.85 children per woman in 2005-2010.
- Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, World Population Prospects: The 2008 Revision, accessed January 8, 2011.
- U.S. Census Bureau, International Data Base, accessed January 8, 2011.
- Wikipedia, Economic Consequences of Population Decline, accessed January 8, 2011.
This list is updated occasionally, with newer additions listed first.
- The Shrinking North — Europe’s population will peak in the early 2020’s.
- Seven billion strong — Expansion of the planet’s most precious resource: human ingenuity.
- Census shows population decline — Greece’s population has shrunk by more than 1 percent.
- Lithuanian census shows steep fall in population — Lost 700,000 people in 20 years.
- 12 Countries Most Likely to Go Belly-Up — Includes 11 European countries.
- Why the US outstrips Europe for population growth — Europe is less attractive to newcomers.
- Thomas Malthus: Wrong Yesterday, Right Today? — Population is not the problem.
- Could Demographic Trends Cripple Europe by 2050? — Demography is destiny.
- Baby Gap: Germany’s Birth Rate Hits Historic Low — German birth rate drops to 1946 level.