Latvia's rate of population decline still among EU's worst

Latvia recorded the third steepest decrease in population across the European Union last year, according to a Eurostat report released July 11.

According to Eurostat, Latvia's population decreased 8.1 per 1,000 residents in 2017. Lithuania reported the biggest decrease - 13.8 per 1,000 residents, followed by Croatia - 11.8 per 1,000 residents.

July 11 is World Population Day and to mark the occasion, Eurostat is also offering the chance to compare the "population pyramids" of the EU member states at the Eurostat website to get a visual impression of demographic trends.

At the start of 2018, Latvia's population was given as 1,934,400, down on a figure of 1,950,100 a year earlier. Latvia's population accounts for just 0.4% of the total EU population of 512 million people.

The other EU countries to report population declines were Bulgaria (-7.3 per 1,000 residents), Romania (-6.2), Greece (-2.7), Hungary (-2), Portugal (-1.8), and Italy (-1.7).

Nine EU member countries recorded population decreases last year, while population of nineteen EU members increased.

Malta recorded the steepest increase in population (+32.7 per 1,000 residents), followed by Luxembourg (+19), Sweden (+12.4), Ireland (+11.2), and Cyprus (+11).

Estonia's population increased by 2.7 per 1,000 residents last year. The average figure for the EU was 2.1.

During 2017, more deaths than births were recorded in the EU, meaning that the population change was therefore due to net migration.

Among the fourteen EU Member States which registered a negative natural change in 2017, deaths outnumbered births the most in Bulgaria (-6.5‰), followed by Croatia and Latvia (both -4.1‰), Lithuania (-4.0‰), Hungary (-3.8‰), Romania (-3.6‰), Greece (-3.3‰) and Italy (-3.2‰).

There were 20,800 births recorded in Latvia last year and 28,800 deaths.

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