At 514,000 before COVID-19 hit, Malta registered highest population increase in EU

Malta has finally breached the half-million population mark

Malta recorded by far the highest population increase in 2019 in the EU, to reach a population of 514,000 at the start of 2020 before COVID-19 prompted an exodus of its foreign workers.

Its population in 2019 was just over 491,000.

The population of the European Union (EU) with 27 Member States was estimated at 447.7 million, down by 12.8% as compared with 513.5 million in 28 Member States on 1 January 2019. This decrease is mainly due to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (on 1 February 2020), which led the population of the EU to decrease by 13%.

The total EU27 population change was positive with 0.9 million more inhabitants during 2019, due to net migration.

The natural change of the EU population has been negative since 2012, with more deaths than births recorded in the EU (4.7 million deaths and 4.2 million births in 2019).

Among the EU Member States, Germany has the largest population (83.2 million residents) accounting for 18.6% of the total EU population at 1 January 2020, followed by France (67.1 million or 15.0%), Italy (60.2 million or 13.5%), Spain (47.3 million or 10.6%) and Poland (38.0 million or 8.5%). Fourteen Member States have a share of between 1% and 5% of the EU population, while eight have a share below 1%.

Increase in population in eighteen Member States

The population increased in eighteen EU Member States and decreased in nine. Malta recorded by far the highest population increase (4.2%), followed by Cyprus, Ireland and Sweden.

4.2 million babies were born in the EU in 2019, 2.2% fewer than in the previous year. The highest crude birth rates in 2019 were recorded in Ireland (12.1 per 1 000 residents), France, Sweden, Cyprus, and Greece. At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest birth rates were registered in Italy, Spain, Greece, Finland and Portugal.

4.7 million deaths were registered in the EU in 2019, 0.9% fewer than the previous year. The lowest crude death rate was recorded in Ireland. Low rates were also recorded in Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta and Sweden.