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Coming Dissapearance of Europe: Demographic Study

Coming Dissapearance of Europe: Demographic Study

Cover Photo: Apadrin Hamento

The web portal conducted a demographic study of the European Union, which has no analogues in RuNet. There you can find a maximum accurate forecast up to 2050, containing separately the analysis of indigenous and foreign population. Accordingly, the study is special as it makes a clear distinction between the two unequal parts and gives an answer to the main question of interest – how the proportion between native Europeans and migrants will change in the future? Below are the main extracts from the article, updated according to the latest data.


In 2015 migration crisis broke out in Europe, which led to numerous clashes with the police, migrants and indigenous people. It was recognized as the most serious crisis since the Second World War.In December 2015 European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Guenther Oettinger announced that 1.1 million registered refugees had arrived in Germany.

What was the reaction of European politicians? On the one hand, they expressed concern about mass influx of migrants, who were considered a burden for the state budget of the European countries, and on the other hand - the Europeans themselves admitted that they need migrants. Thus, EU leaders called for seeing in the influx of migrants not a problem, but a “new opportunity”.

Of course, the migratory crisis of 2015 was not spontaneous. But why has it become possible? After all, any crisis is caused by both external and internal reasons. The war in the Middle East was going on long before the crisis. Why does Europe need migrants?

The fact is that the image of Europe and its standard of living has irreversibly changed due to the underlying demographic processes taking place for decades. Long life expectancy of Europeans often outweighs the low birth rate, especially if that life is accompanied by higher incomes and social standards. Therefore, zero or very slow growth of the EU population to some time did not cause too many questions. Few experts hit the alarm, paying attention to the steady deterioration of the demographic situation in Europe.

The Demographic Structure of the EU Population

Since the mid-2010s begins the accelerated extinction of the indigenous population of Europe which will be shown below. EU's need for migrants will only increase. After all, someone has to keep the aging Europeans, providing them with their European pension. For a while, it really will, as long as Europeans themselves do not become a minority in Europe.No, quantitatively a few decades they will still constitute the majority of the population. But qualitatively Europeans are becoming a minority in our eyes.

What happens when a patient comes to see the doctor? Firstly, the doctor visually examines the patient. If there is no problem found during the first medical examination, the doctor orders the patient to take extra analyses. But when you see apparent health problems of the patient, everything becomes clear without additional analyses. It is necessary to avoid misunderstanding. But even without them it’s clear that everything is bad. In the case of Europe, everything is just so. Let's do a visual inspection of our patient and look at the structure of the EU population (Fig. 1). Otherwise it is also called age pyramid and shows the number of 5-year-old age groups of men (left) and women (right).

Fig. 1. The age structure of the EU population in 1994 (hollow bars) and 2014 (solid bars) years. 

The pyramid seems to be undermined below: the younger age groups are, the smaller they are. Please note: starting from the age of 50 and less, the number of age groups is decreasing.

What happened 50 years ago? By the mid-1960s the post-war population boom ended, and the women were much less likely to give birth.For example, if in 1965 in France, a woman gave birth to an average of 2.8 children, in 1975 - only 1.9 Meanwhile, for the reproduction of the population the minimum necessary number is at least 2.1-2.2.In Switzerland, the fall for the same period was from 2.6 to 1.6. In Finland - from 2.5 to 1.7. And it happened in all EU countries.

The birth rate in the countries of the socialist camp (Romania, Slovakia, Poland, all the Baltic republics, as well as Bulgaria and the Czech Republic), sufficient for reproduction, was the longest. The birth rate in them was higher than in Western Europe.

If we compare the demographic structure of the EU in 1994 and 2014, 20 years ago, we can see that the largest group were 25-29 years-old people. Today it is far from it: the most numerous group includes the people of 45-49. It will take another 35 years, and the most numerous group in the EU will be the elderly (see. Fig. 9).

If you look closely to the age pyramid, you can easily see that the structure of the population in 2014 almost exactly copies the structure in 1994. Especially it concerns the bottom of the graph, as mortality in younger age groups is very low, and all those who in 1994 were 25-29 years old, almost pass to the 2014 cohort of 45-49 years. Similarly, 20-24-year-olds from 1994 moved to 40-44-year-olds in 2014 and so on.

Demographic Trends in the EU

Already on the basis of the age pyramid it is possible to predict the major demographic trends in the next few decades. It is possible, firstly, because of illustrated inertia of demographic process and secondly, on the basis of the known number of children and teens who become parents and give offspring in the coming decades. To do this, you just need to know the age-fertility rates (the number of children born per year from mothers of a certain age, referred to the number of women of this age). How is it possible? The fact is that, the mass processes are subject to statistical laws. Therefore, to predict what will be the birth rate in a country or a union in 10 or 20 years is not so difficult as it seems.

Until now, even with low birth rates, the accumulated demographic potential allowed Europe to give births in exceeding death rates, so that its population grew slowly, since the relative death rate was and remains quite low.

This is easily explained as follows. Suppose each woman gives birth to an average of just 1.5 children,that is far below the required 2.1. This does not mean that the population starts to decline immediately, because this indicator is like instantaneous speed - it shows how a woman will give birth to in her entire life in average if the relative birth rate at all ages remains the same. For example, you need to drive 80 km, but you have only an hour. What will be your decision?One thing is clear: on average you need to go no slower than 80 km / h. But this is on average. If you slow down to 20 km/h at a certain part of the road, of course, that does not mean that you will be late. You can catch up at the other part of the road. If you have been driving at a speed of 20 km /h for several minutes, then this is a reason to think, because the longer you go this way, the more you have to catch up. Finally, if you drive slowly for a long time, then nothing will help you - you will not manage.

Since the birth rate is mostly determined by 20–40 years old people, in order to predict the number of the next generation, it is necessary to take into account how many people are now 20–40 years old. On the graph (Fig. 1), that interval is characterized by a constant decrease of the number of youth. That is, fewer people can give birth, not to mention the one who wants to give birth. This means that if the relative birth rate in Europe does not increase dramatically (and there are no prerequisites for that), the dynamics of further reduction in the number of children and young people among the indigenous population will continue in the EU.

If you look at the same pyramid, you can see that the number of people from 50 to 70 years is about the same as 0-20 years, or even a little more. Who are these people? These are the people who have already entered, entering or coming up soon to retirement age. This is the most numerous generation born after the war.And they are coming close to the retirement age. Who will provide them? Spasmodic attempts of the EU governments to raise the retirement age are caused by the fact that there is no one to provide them with the pension.

A striking fact is that over the past 20 years, the number of all ages under the age of 40 has declined in the EU, and the most severely among young people aged 20–30. At the same time, the number of all ages over 40 years has grown. The median age of the population of 28 EU countries during 2001–2014 increased from 38 to 42.5 years. In 2014, half of the population was older, and the other half - younger than 42.5 years.

The average age of the mother at birth of the first child has increased. Back in the 1980s, it was 25–26 years old, and by the beginning of the 2010s in most EU countries it reached 29–30 years. The average age of the mother at birth of the first child as a whole has already exceeded 30 years, and in some countries (Italy, Spain) it is almost 32.

Migrants: a New Face of Europe

If you look closely at the age pyramid of the EU, you will notice stabilization of the population under the age of 20 years. The low (yet) mortality rate and the low natural population growth, create the illusion that everything in Europe is still all right.

However, analysis shows that all is not so as it seems at first glance. Let's look at the dynamics of the growth of the EU population, dividing it into two components - natural growth and migration growth (Figure 2.). Under natural growth it is meant the difference between the number of births and deaths; under migration growth - the difference between newcomers and those who had left.

Fig. 2. Natural and migration growth of the EU population in 1960-2013 years

The graph shows how during the last 50 years, the natural growth has declined steadily, while migration growth is increasing.But even more importantly, in 1992 the migration growth exceeded the natural one for the first time, and since then the growth of the EU population has been provided mainly by migrants. Since 1992, the EU population has grown by 30.7 million people, of which 23.4 million is due to migrants and only 7.3 million in a natural way.

Only Migrants Provide the Necessary Reproduction in the EU

However, how did it happen that in Europe in the conditions of the decreasing number of childbearing generations, the absolute number of births has stabilized in recent decades? And what does the migration increase have to do with this?

Take a look at an interesting graph (Fig. 3), showing the share of female foreign women in the EU and their birth rate.


Fig. 3. The number of female foreigners in the EU and their birth rate in 2012

As you can see, in all EU countries, except Latvia and Estonia, the percentage of children born to foreigners is significantly higher than the percentage of foreign women themselves. For example, in Austria, 11% of foreign women gave birth to 25% of all children. With an average birth rate among the indigenous population of 1.5 children per woman, among foreign women this figure was about 2.1. Since 2.1 is the minimum level of reproduction of the population, this means that only migrants provide the reproduction in the EU.

Consequently, the stabilization of the absolute number of births in the European Union in the last 15–20 years has been achieved thanks to higher birth rates among migrants, whose number is raising day by day (Fig. 2). So, taking into account the fact that the total birth rate in the EU is relatively stable, and subtracting from it the increasing birth rate among migrants, we get a decreasing birth rate among Europeans. This amazing result suggests that the European population in Europe has long been declining, and the natural growth that still persists is provided by migrants. It is the migrants who give birth to children and provide the growth of the population.

Young Migrants vs Elderly Europeans

How does it happen that migrants give birth to more children? To do this, look at the data from Eurostat - the age pyramid of migrants who arrived in the EU in 2013 (Fig. 4). This refers to people who arrived in one of the EU countries but they are not citizens of that country.

It is different from the one shown in fig. 1 for the entire EU population. First of all, this concerns the so called “youth peak”: the EU is generally visited by the young people. In 2013, 60% of migrants were between 18 and 35 years old. In 2013, the median age of the EU population was 42 years, and 28 years for migrants (by January 1, 2018 was 43.1 and 28.3 - approx.).

Separately we draw attention to the very bottom of the pyramid, showing the distribution of infants. At the age of 1 year, there is a small peak. This suggests that migrants often arrive with children born just a year ago or more recently.

Fig. 4. The age pyramid of migrants entering the EU in 2013

Now let’s impose two age pyramids on each other - the EU population pyramid and foreigners’ pyramid, that is, yesterday's migrants, and look at the resulting picture (Fig. 5). It speaks for itself. “Old Europeans and young foreigners” - this is how you can briefly define the demographic structure of the EU today.

Fig. 5. Age pyramid of the EU population and foreigners as a percentage of the total population in 2013

According to Eurostat, in 2014, 5.12 million people were born in the EU. (2017 - 5.08 million people) and 4.93 million died (2017 - 5.3 million people), i.e. natural growth amounted to 0.19 million (2017 - 0.22 million).4.40 millionwere born among the indigenous population, and 4.81 million died.Thus, the natural growth was made solely thanks to the foreigners (0.60 million), while the indigenous population of Europe decreased by 0.41 million.In 2013, the reduction of the indigenous population was almost 0.5 million. The difference between the natural growth of the indigenous population of Europe and foreigners is about 1 million in favor of foreigners.Consequently, only due to birth and death rates, the proportion between foreigners and indigenous people in Europe annually changes by 1 million in favor of foreigners. If at the same time we take into account that the number of foreigners in the EU is constantly increasing, it becomes clear at the expense of whom the stable birth rate has been achieved, which has been providing (so far) a general natural increase in the EU.

How Many Migrants are there in the EU?

On January 1, 2015 most foreigners were in Germany  (7.5 million),  the UK  (5.4 million), Italy (5.0 million), Spain (4.5 million) and France (4.4 million). However, there are still those who are just European citizens. So, on January 1, 2015 the number of people living in the EU who were born outside the EU amounted to 34.3 million.

It’s not difficult to guess to what culture belongs the majority of the EU foreigners. They are Muslims. Many of them already have European citizenship, although in fact they are hardly Europeans.

According to the report "The Future of the Global Muslim Population" prepared by the Washington "Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life" in 2011, in 18 EU countries accounted for more than 18 million Muslims, and by 2030 their number will rise to 30 million.

Table 1. Estimated number of Muslims in some European countries

Thus in Ireland the number of Muslims in 2030 will grow by 3 times in Finland, in Norway - 2,5 times, in  Sweden - 2.2 times, in Italy and the UK -  2 times.In the next few decades, the image of Europe will irreversibly change. In total, almost 1 million foreigners receive EU citizenship annually. In 2014, 88% of them were citizens of non-EU countries.

How to Make a Demographic Modeling?

Demographic modeling is based on a simple method of age shifting. Its method is very simple. The entire population is divided into males and females in 1-year age groups. For each age group, an appropriate age-specific mortality rate is established, i.e. the average number of people who die each year at a given age per 1,000 people. Based on this, it is easy to calculate the number of the next age group in a year. And in order to calculate births, you need to multiply the number of women of all age groups from 15 to 50 years by the corresponding age-specific fertility rates and add the results obtained. So we have full age and sex structure of the population in a year. Repeatedly applying this technique, we obtain the gender and age structure of the population for the required number of years ahead.

As of January 1, 2015, the total EU population was 508 million. Of these, 473 million are indigenous people, and 35 million are foreigners. Among foreigners there are two groups: 15 million had citizenship of another EU country (not the one in which they lived), and 20 million were not citizens of any of the EU countries at all. It would seem that out of 35 million only these 20 million are foreign cultures, i.e. not Europeans, and it is for them to conduct a separate calculation. However, there are strong arguments in favor of the fact that 35 million - this is the exact number of non-Europeans in Europe.

Foreigners = non-European migrants

Firstly, on 1 January 2015 the number of foreigners in the EU amounted to 35 million, while the number of people living in the EU, but born outside it, -. 34.3. Yes, some of those born outside the EU already have EU citizenship and have managed to truly become Europeans. But there are also those who were born in the EU from migrants, accepted EU citizenship, but who don’t belong to the European culture. In statistics, they appear as EU citizens born in the EU, but in fact non-Europeans.

Secondly, the age-specific fertility rates of both groups of foreigners almost coincide, and their maximum is shifted to the age of 25 years. This differs significantly from the age-specific fertility rates of the indigenous population, which are smaller and shifted to the age of 30-35 years. The simplest explanation is that the migrants, who had already obtained EU citizenship, do not become Europeans at all, but continue to travel around Europe in search of a better life. Having acquired a citizenship, but not a homeland, they are already listed as citizens of one of the EU countries, but they easily move from one EU country to another and still do not have time to change their reproductive behavior. Therefore, for these EU citizens who are in another EU country, the birth rate practically coincides with the birth rate of those who do not have any EU country citizenship at all. This suggests that 15 million foreigners in the EU with citizenship of another EU country are recent migrants who have not become Europeans.

Thus, these arguments speak in favor of the fact that the 35 million is the real number of non-European population, since they are foreigners in their countries, sharply distinguished by higher birth rates (2.1 children per woman) and a “young age structure” (Fig. 5)

Initial Data

Taking all this into account, a calculation was carried out until 2050 separately for the indigenous population and foreigners. The age structure of the population was taken on January 1, 2015, and the age-specific fertility and mortality rates were calculated at the end of 2014.

The Calculation Results, or Sad Fate of Europe

We have the following picture as a result of the calculations. (Fig. 6). The indigenous population of the European Union will decrease rapidly - from the current 473 million to 396 by 2050, i.e. at 77 million. This is the sixth part of the population! Just in 35 years! At the same time, the speed of its decrease will increase: in 5 years - by 1 million per year, in 15 years - by 2 million, by the middle of the century - by 3 million. Does Europe have a different choice than to encourage and increase the influx of migrants? No. This is the fate of Europe, and this cannot be changed by any decisions of the European Commission.

Fig. 6. The number of the EU population: 1 - indigenous people, 2a - foreigners with annual migration gain of 2 million, 2b - with growth of 1 million

But the number of foreigners in the EU will continue to grow rapidly. From the current 35 million, it will grow to 88 million with a migration increase of 1 million and up to 136 million with a growth of 2 million. As you can see, the two curves are not very different, which allows us to accept for further calculations an average value of 1.5 million, at which the number of foreigners in The EU will reach 112 million by the middle of the century (this option is shown in Figure 8-9). Thus, the proportion between the indigenous population and visitors over the third century will change from the current 14: 1 to 3.5: 1. This will radically change the face of Europe and its racial-ethnic structure in just one generation.

As it follows from the graphs, migration is vital for Europe - without it, the population will begin to decline in the very next few years, even with the 35 million foreigners who already live in the EU and have a higher birth rate. But even with the current migration flow, the EU population will not be able to increase significantly. The increase in the flow of migrants will only briefly delay the inevitable reduction in the population, which is unlikely to exceed 520–530 million. Thus, the EU population has almost reached its limit, and the question is when it will start to decline. For soon, even a large influx of migrants and a high birth rate among them will not be able to compensate for the accelerating extinction of native Europeans. If the migration flow ensures stable growth of the EU population in the coming decades, then everything for Europe will end in one generation.

Fig. 7. The Change of the EU population depending on the annual migration growth 

Europe is Aging Irreversibly...

We calculated what the ratio of children (under 15) and old people (65 and older) will be in the overall structure of the EU population (Fig. 8). After all, today's children will feed the elderly in the future. Meanwhile their number is decreasing day by day. More precisely, their percentage will not decrease very much, but taking into account the aging temps of the population, they simply will not be able to keep such a number of pensioners.

Fig. 8. The proportion of children (under 15 years) and elderly (65) in the total EU population

The lower graph clearly shows that by the middle of the century foreigners will already constitute an impressive part of the EU population, and the younger they are, the larger their number is. For 100 newborn European children there will be 48 newborns of foreigners. The share of children under 15 among non-Europeans from the total number of children in the EU will increase from the current 6% to almost 30%. In 35 years almost every third child in the EU will be non-European.

Fig. 9. Age structure of the native population (open bars) and foreigners (dark) of the EU population

… and Disappearing

If the current trends continue(and there are no prerequisites for their change), then in the 2090s the European population will become a minority in Europe, reducing to 200–220 million. With such demographic dynamics, there are a lot of reasons to say that by the end of the 21st century, European civilization will simply physically disappear, mixing with the migrants, even if many of them will be new EU citizens.

Translated from Russian by Manan Ajamyan.


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