Demographic trends in EU regions

29-01-2019

The European Union has seen its population grow substantially – by around a quarter in the five and a half decades since 1960 – to a current level of over 500 million people. However, this population is now growing too slowly, and is even expected to decline in the longer term. Issues of demography are likely to have a considerable impact on EU society. Most models used for analysing population trends suggest that, in the coming years, the EU's population will continue to age as a result of consistently low levels of fertility and extended longevity. Although migration may play an important role in the population dynamics within many of the EU Member States, it is unlikely that it can reverse the ongoing trend of population ageing. Demographic developments have various implications for European regions. Some of them, especially rural and remote ones, are experiencing a considerable decline in population numbers. This situation may further exacerbate the economic decline regions are already facing, and thereby widen the gap between wealthy and poor ones. Therefore, demography also severely affects the social, economic and territorial cohesion of the EU. On the other hand, the heavy concentration of population in urban centres also creates certain negative consequences, such as pollution and lack of affordable housing. Recent migration trends have improved the demographic balance in various EU regions; that said, migration affects EU regions in an uneven manner. The European structural and investment funds are mainly used for boosting economic growth in European regions, but they may also serve, in combination with other EU funds, to address issues stemming from demographic challenges. The EU also uses a number of instruments to address migration-related issues in its territories most affected by the issue.

The European Union has seen its population grow substantially – by around a quarter in the five and a half decades since 1960 – to a current level of over 500 million people. However, this population is now growing too slowly, and is even expected to decline in the longer term. Issues of demography are likely to have a considerable impact on EU society. Most models used for analysing population trends suggest that, in the coming years, the EU's population will continue to age as a result of consistently low levels of fertility and extended longevity. Although migration may play an important role in the population dynamics within many of the EU Member States, it is unlikely that it can reverse the ongoing trend of population ageing. Demographic developments have various implications for European regions. Some of them, especially rural and remote ones, are experiencing a considerable decline in population numbers. This situation may further exacerbate the economic decline regions are already facing, and thereby widen the gap between wealthy and poor ones. Therefore, demography also severely affects the social, economic and territorial cohesion of the EU. On the other hand, the heavy concentration of population in urban centres also creates certain negative consequences, such as pollution and lack of affordable housing. Recent migration trends have improved the demographic balance in various EU regions; that said, migration affects EU regions in an uneven manner. The European structural and investment funds are mainly used for boosting economic growth in European regions, but they may also serve, in combination with other EU funds, to address issues stemming from demographic challenges. The EU also uses a number of instruments to address migration-related issues in its territories most affected by the issue.