EU Population Trends: Bulgaria Sees Largest Decrease

Photo: Stella Ivanova

As of January 1, 2023, the European Union (EU) has a population of 448.8 million people. Germany is the most populous EU country, with 84.4 million residents (19% of the EU total), followed by France (68.2 million, 15%), Italy (59.0 million, 13%), Spain (48.1 million, 11%), and Poland (36.8 million, 8%). Together, these five countries account for 66% of the EU's population, according to Eurostat. On the opposite end, the least populated EU countries are Malta (542,000, 0.1% of the EU total), Luxembourg (661,000, 0.1%), and Cyprus (921,000, 0.2%).

From January 1, 2003, to January 1, 2023, the EU's total population grew from 431.2 million to 448.8 million, marking a 4% increase. During this period, 18 EU countries experienced population growth, while nine saw a decline. Luxembourg (47%), Malta (36%), Ireland (33%), and Cyprus (29%) had the largest relative increases. Conversely, Latvia (−18%), Bulgaria and Lithuania (both -17%), and Romania (-12%) saw the most significant relative decreases. France and Spain each recorded the largest absolute population increase (6.3 million), whereas Romania (−2.6 million), Poland (−1.5 million), and Bulgaria (−1.4 million) had the largest absolute decreases.

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