The population of the EU-28 has grown from 406.7 million in 1960 to 512.7 million in 2018. Yet, there were only 5.06 million live births in 2017 compared to the 7.60 million in 1961. With 4.14 million deaths in 1961, the natural population increase at that time was nearly 3.5 million people. In contrast, the 5.26 million deaths in 2017 meant there was a slight decline in the natural population for that year. Eurostat’s baseline projections suggest that the EU-28 population will grow more slowly than in the past, peaking at 528.6 million in 2050, before declining to 518.8 million by 2080.
At the same time, the world population has risen much more dramatically, from a little over 3 billion in 1960, to nearly 7.4 billion in 2015, and is projected to rise further still, passing 10 billion in 2055 to over 11 billion in 2100 (see Figure 1). Therefore, even when it was growing strongly, the EU-28 population comprised an ever-shrinking proportion of the world population, down from 13.5 % in 1960 to 6.9 % in 2015 – and it is projected to be smaller still at just 4.9 % in 2055 and 4.1 % in 2100 (see Section 2.3 for more on the EU in the world).