Spain and Sweden had the highest number of uninhabited cells in Europe by 2021, with 426,000- and 362,000-kilometre squares, respectively, Eurostat explains.
According to the European Office for Statistics, of the 4.4 million kilometres of square cells in Europe, 1.8 million cells were populated against 2.6 million that were inhabited, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The total EU population in the one-kilometer square population grid in the census grid by 2021, was 443.2 million residents, while the most populous countries in the EU were Germany, France and Italy, with 83.2 million, 67.9 million and 59 million people, respectively.
In addition, Spain, which has 47.4 million people and Poland with 37 million, are also in the group of countries with the largest population. On the other hand, countries with a mid-sized population for 2021 were Sweden (10.5 million), ahead of Portugal (10.3 million) and Malta (500,000), Luxembourg (600,000) and Cyprus (900,000) remained the smallest EU population rates.
Out of 1,166 NUTS 3 regions across the EU, the largest number of residents was recorded in Madrid, with 6.7 million people, followed by Barcelona (5.7 million) and Rome (4.2 million). In the meanwhile, the smallest number of residents was recorded in El Hierro, Spain (11,290), followed by Evyrtania, Greece (17,428) and Lungau, Austria (20,164).
Furthermore, Luxembourg recorded the largest changes in increases and decreases in population, scoring a 26 per cent increase, followed by Malta and Sweden with 24 and ten per cent increases, respectively.
However, the population decreased in Bulgaria (11 per cent), Croatia (ten per cent), Latvia (nine per cent) and Lithuania (eight per cent).
Increases in population were recorded in the west and the north of the EU while the east and south experienced decreases.
“The largest increases in population were recorded in the Romanian region of Ilfov (40 per cent), the German region of Wartburgkreis (27 per cent), Luxembourg (+26 per cent), the Maltese region of Gozo and Comino and the French region of Guyane (each 25 per cent), and Malta (24 per cent),” Eurostat explains.
As per regions, the largest decreases in population were evident in 18 regions in Bulgaria and Croatia, recording between a 17 and 25 per cent decrease.
In addition, the EU population is expected to drop by six per cent by 2100, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine affecting the population rates of the recent three years. In addition, a forecast by Eurostat shows that the population age groups will also change by 2100, with the share of people aged between 65 and 79 increasing.
One of the reasons that the EU population has experienced a surge in recent years is related to migration, as more people have come to the EU in 2021. A total of 2.3 million people from third countries came to the EU by 2021, and countries with the highest rates of immigration rates were Luxembourg, with 40 immigrants per 1,000 inhabitants, followed by Malta and Cyprus.