- EuropeÔÇÖs total population is foreseen to grow from 514 million in 2010 to 530 million in 2030. However, this population increase is unevenly distributed and many regions will experience population decline.
- In several countries, neighbouring regions often face contrasting population developments which entail diverse challenges for the affected regions.
- In order to establish an appropriate level of public services, transnational cooperation might offer platforms to jointly develop new solutions for regions facing comprehensive depopulation.
- In several countries such as Romania, Sweden and the Czech Republic, an urban polarisation is foreseen.
Observations for policy
EuropeÔÇÖs population growth is foreseen to tend towards stabilisation by 2030. Total population of the EU27+4 will grow from 514 million in 2010 to 530 million in 2030, which implies an increase of 3.1%. However, this population increase is unevenly distributed, and many regions will experience population decline: Polarisation is foreseen as some regions may face considerable population increase while others may experience a corresponding population decrease. This applies to different territorial levels. In a number of countries like Germany, Poland, Spain or Portugal, neighbouring regions are affected by opposed trends of population development. Moreover, trends can be seen on transnational level. For example, in all regions in Southeast Europe (except Bucharest, East Macedonia and Thrace, the Aegean islands and Crete in Greece, and Cyprus) population decline is foreseen to take place. Consequently, one has to consider that not only contrasted developments but also homogenous developments such as comprehensive depopulation entail increasing challenges that require action on different territorial levels, ranging from urban-rural relations to transnational cooperation.
The Territorial Agenda 2020 acknowledges that European regions face territorially differentiated demographic challenges, and that both ageing and depopulation, and population increase will pose challenges and lead to increasing pressures. The 6th Cohesion Report underlines the importance of knowledge about likely population change over coming decades, as major investments in large-scale infrastructures need to be planned in the light of changing preconditions. As the European TEN-T core network is supposed to be realised by 2030, likely regional differences in population development should be considered when setting priorities or identifying needs for adjustments in the planning and implementation process. Such forecasts could also make it possible to prepare the downscaling of regional and local services and infrastructures in case of expected population decline, and the upgrading of existing infrastructures or creation of new infrastructures in case of expected population growth. Overall assessments of costs related to these contrasted demographic trends may help justifying measures to promote
According to the MULTIPOLES forecast model, only single European regions expect an average annual population growth of more than 1%, such as several Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, Cyprus, some regions in Central and South Spain, and South Norway. Furthermore, urban centres of Oslo, Stockholm, Hamburg, and Luxembourg may face such an increase.
On the other hand, several regions might face considerable population decline of more than -0.5% per year in average. Such regions can mainly be found in Southeast Europe, Greece, most Portuguese regions, Eastern Germany, Poland, and the Baltic States. More declining regions (-0.5% to 0%) exist in Southern and Central Europe. While some countries show no disparities at all such as Bulgaria or Ireland, other countries like Spain or Germany show considerable regional disparities, i.e. both regions with considerable population growth and regions with considerable population decline can be found.
Concepts and methods
The map displays the annual population change on NUTS2 level in percentage value, using five different classes, ranging from population decline of less than 0.5% per year up to annual population growth of more than 1%.
The results were obtained using the MULTIPOLES forecast model. MULTIPOLES is a cohort-component population dynamics model. It is used for the simulations of complex, hierarchical multiregional, multi-country population systems and for analysing impact of various scenarios concerning migration, fertility and mortality.
The main assumptions in the MULTIPOLES model are formulated for each component of population change, i.e. for fertility, mortality, and migration. The baseline scenario can be described as a ÔÇśbusiness as usualÔÇÖ scenario, with no major policy changes and slow economic recovery. For all assumptions, regional and national differences will be still clearly visible.
In detail, fertility will remain low in Europe (increase from 1.61 to 1.66 in 2030), i.e. below the replacement level of 2.1 births per woman. With regards to mortality, life expectancy will increase due to medical advances and lifestyle factors, i.e. for men from 77 (2010) to 81 (2025-2030), and for women from 83 (2010) to 86 (2025-2030). With regards to migration, it is assumed that immigration will increase by 2 per cent every 5 years by 2030-35, in countries strongly affected by the crisis this increase is delayed by 5 years, and that migrants will mainly move to urban agglomerations and that European countries strongly affected by the crisis, will also experience out-migration. With regards to intra-European migration, emigration rates will be constant in the least crisis-hit countries, and in the most crisis-hit countries (Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland) emigration rates will gradually drop back to pre-crisis values in 2020-2025 and then remain constant. Finally, for internal migration it was assumed that the average level of out-migration rates will remain constant in all countries. As cohesion policies will moderately reduce the differences in regional attractiveness, migration gains and losses will be flattened, and regional differences in mobility will decrease.