Germany, Europe's biggest economy, has a population of 82.2 million, but the study predicts it will lose 12 million citizens, falling to 70.8 million. This number will overtaken by the UK, predicted to boast some 76.6 million Brits, and France, with 71.8 million.
The study, “Population Projection 2008-2060,” was released on Tuesday and predicts that the overall European population will arc at 495 million in 2035, after which it will steadily decline. But the study predicts there will be considerable difference between individual member states – thirteen will experience population growth, and fourteen will see a decrease in their populations.
The biggest winners in people power will be Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom. The worse declines will be in Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Poland – with Germany trailing close behind.
The study assumes that birthrates will continue to decline as the number of elderly and death rate increases. It takes “positive net migration” into account, but reports that after 2035, even this won't counterbalance the negative trend. Not only will the population shrink, but there will be more elderly citizens than ever - they will make up about 30 percent of the population.
The Eurostat report comes after the German Statistical Office announced last week that birthrates in 2007 were at the highest since 2000, up to a rate of 1.37 children per woman. This number is still too low to turn back the tide of the country's shrinking population.