Europe once contained some of the biggest countries in the world. However, after decades of falling birth rates the politically powerful region is declining. Its new reality raises questions about whether it will maintain political power, and whether a reliance on migration will mean changing values and cultures (this is especially true because it is recent immigrants that also have the most babies).
Eurostat, the European Union's statistics agency, recently said that the region's population rose in 2016 solely because of immigration. The number of births and deaths were equal at 5.1 million each, while net migration boosted the population by 1.5 million to 511.8 million. However, a large intake of migrants to Germany (mainly Syrian refugees), and smaller net migration to Finland and Poland, meant that populations there still grew.
By 2050, Eurostat estimates that only the populations of Ireland, France, Norway and Britain would rise without migration and the rest would be in decline. Already, in 13 of its 28 member countries, more people died than were born last year. The populations of Germany and Italy are expected to decline by 18% and 16% respectively without migration.
The following table illustrates how the continent might fare based on Eurostat's projections. It shows that a large chunk of European countries are expected to decline in population by 2050 even with migration: