Low birth rates in Europe have caused the total population of many countries in the continent to drop drastically. At present, Germany, the most populous country in Europe, ranks only 16th globally. The way out is to attract more foreigners to the Continent, says The Economist.
In the second week of July, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, said that the only reason for the growth of the European population in 2016 was immigration. Meanwhile, the number of births and deaths cancelled each other out at 5.1 million each, but net migration increased the region’s population to 511.8 million, a rise of 1.5 million. In fact, in 3 of the 28 European countries, the number of people who died exceeded the numbers who were born in 2016.
Notwithstanding all the attendant political problems migrants can create, Europe will have to welcome more of them in order to prevent its population from dwindling. Estimates of Eurostat indicate that by 2050, only Britain, France, Norway and Ireland would be able to increase their populations without help from migrants.
However Germany and Italy need migrants in large numbers, as their populations would fall by 18 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Even with migration, Germany’s population would remain constant at 82.8 million. The same is the case with most Eastern European and Mediterranean countries.
After the collapse of Soviet Union, most East European countries joined the EU and many of people from those countries migrated to the richer EU nations and have stayed back there. The countries, which see their populations falling steeply, need to attract and retain foreign workers or look at other ways of increasing population, says the magazine.
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