According to the latest population projections issued by Eurostat, the EU’s population will decrease by 6% between 1 January 2022 and 1 January 2100, equivalent to 27.3 million fewer people.
But for Latvia the demographic decline is predicted to be much steeper, with the country's population dropping below 1.5 million by 2045 and continuing to shrink to just 1.16 million by 2100 according to baseline predictions from Eurostat.
Interestingly, if the predictions prove to be correct, by 2060 the population of Latvia will actually be smaller than that of Estonia (current population 1.3 million) and until the end of the century Latvia will remain the least populous of the Baltic states with Estonia having 1.28 million residents as opposed to Latvia's 1.16 million.
Lithuania is expected to remain the most populous of the Baltic states though by 2100 its population will have fallen from the current level of 2.8 million to around 1.7 million – smaller than the current Latvian population.
In parallel data, compared with the 2011 population and housing census, the 2021 preliminary results show Latvia having one of the largest drops over the decade. Leading the way is Bulgaria (-11%), followed by Croatia (-10%), Latvia (-9%) and Lithuania (-8%).
After a decrease in 2020 and 2021 due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the population of the EU started recovering during the course of 2022.
As a consequence of the mass influx of refugees from Ukraine into the EU as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the population is estimated to have reached 451 million persons on 1 January 2023. Furthermore, the EU’s population is projected to peak at 453 million people in 2026, before decreasing to a projected level of 420 million in 2100.