The European Union (EU) registered more deaths than births, for the first time, in 2015 but its population increased due to migrant arrivals, according to population estimates for 1 January 2016, published on Friday by Eurostat, the European statistical office. The most populated EU member states are Germany (82.2 million inhabitants), France (66.7 million), Britain (65.3 million) and Italy (60.7 million). In 2015, 17 countries registered population increases. The highest was in Luxembourg (+23.3 per 1000 inhabitants), followed by Austria (+11.8 per 1000). Belgium also saw its population rise significantly, by 7.2 per 1000 inhabitants. At the same time, 11 member states saw their populations decrease. The largest drop was in Lithuania (-11.3 per 1000), followed by Latvia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece and Rumania.
The EU as a whole registered more deaths (5,226,500) than births (5.091,300) last year, although its population increased from 508.3 million at the end of 2014 to 510.1 million a year later due to net migration. The country with the highest gross mortality rate was Bulgaria – 15.3 deaths per 1000 inhabitants.
Belgium, on the other hand, registered a net population increase of 1%, with 122,300 births and 110,500 deaths.