The European Union’s population grew in 2022 for the first time in three years, according to new data published on Tuesday by the EU’s statistics office Eurostat.
Although more deaths than births were recorded in 2022, increased migration into the EU drove population numbers up.
There were 448.4 million people living in the EU on 1 January 2023, up from 446.7 million a year earlier. The population had previously decreased in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Eurostat, the population growth in 2022 can be attributed to increased migration following the pandemic and the influx of displaced persons from Ukraine seeking temporary protection status across the EU following Russia’s invasion in February 2022.
Around 4 million people from Ukraine had sought temporary refuge in the EU as of March 2023.
Some EU member states have recently raised concerns over declining birth rates and proposed measures to tackle the situation. The fertility rate decreased in 11 of the 27 EU member states between 2001 and 2021.
Many member states also have ageing populations due to higher life expectancy.
Eurostat said the population increased in 20 EU countries while it increased in seven. Italy reported the largest decrease (-179,419 persons) while Germany recorded the largest increase (1.12 million).