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Europe's Demographic Future

Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises

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Europe looks back on a turbulent decade in which financial, economic and debt crises led to mass unemployment and brought entire states to the brink of insolvency. As hundreds of thousands of refugees made their way to Europe, many people showed great willingness to help them. But at the same time, mass migration has caused new tension. These events have had a major impact on population development. New migration patterns have emerged while old ones have changed and in many places, fewer people want to start families in the face of economic insecurity. So where do Europe’s regions stand today and what are their long-term prospects?  The Berlin Institute for Population and Development examines these questions using a large number of demographic and socio-economic indicators.

The Berlin Institute would like to thank the Nuremberg Institute for Market Decisions (formerly GfK Verein) for supporting this research project.

Focus Areas: Demographic change, Immigration and labour market, International population policies
published: 10th August 2017

Selected Figures

Demographically speaking, Europe is a divided continent. In the northern, western and central parts of the continent high fertility and immigration ensure population growth in the foreseeable future while dampening the aging of society at the same time. In contrast, many regions in the Eastern and Southern parts of Europe are experiencing emigration and low fertility rates, which is to some extent a result of difficult economic conditions. © Berlin-Institut
Nowhere in Europe are women having sufficient numbers of children to keep the population stable in the long term without immigration. Yet there are marked regional differences. There is a relative abundance of children in the North and West, while almost everywhere in German-speaking regions and in Southern and Eastern Europe fertility rates are lower than 1.6 children per woman. There are historical reasons for these differences: Particularly in Scandinavia and France, politicians recognised long ago that in order to encourage people to have families, they would have to take measures to make having a family and a career more compatible. © Berlin-Institut
The most popular immigration destinations in Europe in recent years have been along the Alps, Central Italy, Southern France, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia. Many of these regions are among the richest on the continent. In contrast, in the emigration regions of Southern and Eastern Europe, only the areas including and surrounding the capital cities have been able – if at all – to achieve stability through migration. This is mainly because of internal migrants. However, the large number of refugees has played a decisive role in contributing to migration gains in two thirds of all European NUTS 2 regions over the past five years. © Berlin-Institut


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