Ireland had the largest ’natural’ population rise in EU last year

Ireland had the highest birth rate in the EU in 2016 and the joint lowest death rate, it has emerged.

According to statistics released by Eurostat to mark world population day there were 63,900 live births in Ireland in 2016, or 13.5 per 1,000 inhabitants, the highest birth rate in the EU and well above the average of 10 births per 1,000 inhabitants.

In the same period there were 30,400 deaths or 6.4 per 1,000 inhabitants, joint lowest rate in the EU with Cyprus.

This led to a natural population change of +7.1 per 1,000 inhabitants, the largest natural rise in the EU.

Cyprus (+4.7‰) saw the second largest natural growth in its population in 2016 followed by Luxembourg (+3.6‰), France (+3.0‰), Sweden and the United Kingdom (both +2.7‰) and Malta (+2.6‰).

On an EU level, there was no natural change in the population in 2016 – 5.1 million babies were born and 5.1 million people died.

In thirteen EU Member States deaths outnumbered births with the largest gaps between births and deaths observed in Bulgaria (-6.0‰), Lithuania (-3.7‰), Romania (-3.5‰), Croatia and Latvia (both -3.4‰) and Hungary (-3.2‰).

When it comes to total population rise (i.e. natural change plus migration), Ireland had the fourth highest relative rise in population in the EU in 2016 (+10.6 per 1,000 residents).

This meant Ireland had a total population rise of just over 50,000 in 2016 bringing it to 4,774,800 on 1 January 2017.

Luxembourg (+19.8 per 1,000 residents), Sweden (+14.5‰), Malta (+13.8‰) had the highest relative increases in population in 2016. Overall, the population rose in eighteen EU countries while it fell in ten with the largest drops in Lithuania (-14.2‰), Latvia (-9.6‰), Croatia (-8.7‰), Bulgaria (-7.3‰) and Romania (-6.2‰).

The EU population rose by just over 1.5 million in 2016 bringing it to 511.8 million on 1 January of this year. The countries with the largest populations were Germany (82.8 million), France (67.0 million), the United Kingdom (65.8 million), Italy (60.6 million), Spain (46.5 million) and Poland (38 million).

These figures were published by Eurostat to mark World Population Day on 7 July.

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