Prometheus Bound, by Jacob Jordaens

Prometheus Bound, by Jacob Jordaens

Changes In The European Population Size

The fertility rate in Europe being as low as it is, will impact the population size. Yet Europe is doing something to counter this. A few years ago Merkel opened the doors of Europe to immigrants from the Middle East and Africa. Although there certainly are refugees coming from the ravaged warzone that we call Syria – many more are flowing in through Africa. The general premises held by the Europeans are: 1) Europe has a large population, 2) The amount of immigrants will not seriously impact the European overall population.

To phrase it differently, the assumption is that if you have large glass of Coca-Cola, being Europe, adding a drop of Fanta will not change the flavour. The European culture would not change, because the relatively few immigrants entering the continent would simply blend in to the greater European population.

Total Population Increase In Europe

Currently there are around 511 million people in the European Union. The table below shows the number of live births for the previous decade in millions. We can see that the number hovers around 5 million. The 5 million comes from an EU-wide fertility rate of around 1.58.

Number of Live Births in Europe

Number of Live Births in Europe

In 2015 there were 5.1 million births in the European Union. Yet, births are not the only source of population increase. Migrants have been flowing into Europe since the 1960’s, initially primarily from countries like Turkey, Morocco and Algeria. Over the last years, the European desire for open borders within the continent has extended to the desire for open borders everywhere.

Immigration is open to all

There is a general idea that illegal immigration does not exist, because a person cannot be illegal for merely existing. Thus, people looking for a brighter future have been moving to Europe. In 2015 the EU had 1.3 million claims for asylum. Although not all asylum requests are accepted, even the ones that are rejected usually do not end up leaving the EU. They disappear into illegality. Despite being illegal, they still live in the EU and form a part of the population.

Map of asylum claims in Europe in 2015

The map above shows us where the migrants are going, with a total of 1.3 million entering Europe in 2015.

Births VS Migration

With an average of 5 million births per year, 1.3 million is a large addition. If 2015 would become the norm for asylum requests, immigrants would form 20% of the population increase in the EU. Moreover, many of the 5 million are already children of migrants, although an exact number is hard to give.

Although 1.3 million may sound like an incredible number, keep in mind that in Africa alone there are 1.2 billion people and the population has been rapidly expanding over the last century. The rest of the world excluding the EU hosts 7 billion people, most of which are living in far worse conditions than they would in Europe. For most of these people coming to Europe is an attractive idea.

We do know that migrants are generally younger, and have a higher fertility rate than the native populations. This will result in migrant children being dis-proportionally represented among the live births within the EU.


The amount of migrants entering Europe will have a very serious consequence as to what Europe will look like. Compared to the amount of live births, the amount of migrants seeking entry to Europe is much bigger than most people are expecting. Even more so when taking into account that the fertility rate of native populations is so low, that their numbers are actually shrinking.

Perhaps the data in this article has provided a new insight as to what these numbers mean. The 1.3 million sounds as only a few compared to a total population of 500 million, but the 500 million is the constant. The flow that you should compare it to is the 5 million live births. Suddenly, migrants do not represent 0.2% of the EU population, but 20% of the population increase.