According to a Eurostat news release issued in Brussels yesterday, Malta registered the second largest population increase in the European Union (EU) in 2010 year in percentage terms due to the inflow of migrants exceeding the net natural increase in the local population by more than two to one. The majority of the migrants enter Malta illegally and originate from sub-Saharan Africa.
While the number of migrants in the EU increased by an average of 1.7 per thousand of the population, in Malta the figure was up by 5.4 per thousand, the second highest increase in the EU after Luxembourg and more than three times the EU average. This trend is similar to that in the EU as a whole, where 60 per cent of the increase in population came from migration, with the largest net inflows in Luxembourg (+15.1 per cent), Malta (+5.4 per cent), Sweden (+5.3 per cent), Italy (+5.2 per cent) and Belgium (+5.1 per cent).
Malta’s population in 2010 year increased by 3,200 persons to a total of 417,600. However, of the 3,200 only 1,000 represented a net gain of 1,000 births over deaths (4,000 newborns less 3,000 deaths) and the remaining 2,200, were newly registered migrants. While 4,000 births may sound like a healthy birth rate, Malta had one of the lowest rates in the EU, with only 9.6 newborns per 1,000 population. Only five other EU member states had a lower natural growth record: Germany (8.3), Latvia (8.6), Hungary (9.0), Austria (9.4) and Portugal (9.5). With all its economic ills, Ireland had the highest birth rate in the EU with a crude birth rate of 16.5 per 1,000 population.
As at 1 January 2011, the population of the EU was estimated at 502.5 million, compared with 501.1 million on 1 January 2010. The population of the EU27 grew by 1.4 million in 2010, an annual rate of +2.7 per 1000 inhabitants, due to a natural increase of 0.5 million (+1.0‰) and net migration of 0.9 million (+1.7‰).
The population of the member countries in the Euro Area (EA17) was estimated at 332.0 million on 1 January 2011, compared with 330.9 million on 1 January 2010. The population of the euro area grew by 1.0 million in 2010, an annual rate of +3.1‰, due to a natural increase of 0.3 million (+1.0‰) and net migration of 0.7 million (+2.1‰).
Highest natural growth rates in Ireland, Cyprus, France, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom
In 2010, 5.4 million children were born in the EU27. The crude birth rate was 10.7 per 1000 inhabitants, the same as in 2009. The highest birth rates were recorded in Ireland (16.5‰), the United Kingdom (13.0‰), France (12.8‰), Cyprus (12.4‰) and Sweden (12.3‰), and the lowest rates in Germany (8.3‰), Latvia (8.6‰), Hungary (9.0‰), Italy (9.3‰), Austria (9.4‰), Portugal (9.5‰) and Malta (9.6‰).
There were 4.8 million deaths registered in the EU27 in 2010. The crude death rate was 9.7 per 1000 inhabitants, unchanged compared with 2009. The highest death rates were observed in Bulgaria (14.6‰), Latvia (13.4‰), Hungary (13.0‰), Lithuania (12.8‰) and Romania (12.1‰), and the lowest rates in Ireland (6.2‰), Cyprus (6.7‰), Malta (7.2‰) and Luxembourg (7.4‰).
Consequently, the highest natural growth of the population (the difference between live births and deaths per 1000 inhabitants) was registered in Ireland (+10.3‰), well ahead of Cyprus (+5.7‰), France (+4.4‰), Luxembourg (+4.2‰) and the United Kingdom (+3.9‰). Eight Member States had a negative natural growth, with the largest declines in Latvia (-4.8‰), Bulgaria (-4.6‰), Hungary (-4.0‰), Germany and Romania (both -2.2‰).
Highest population growth in 2010 in Luxembourg, Sweden, Malta, Belgium and the United Kingdom
In 2010, over 60% of the increase in the EU27 population came from migration. In relative terms, Luxembourg (+15.1‰), Malta (+5.4‰), Sweden (+5.3‰), Italy (+5.2‰) and Belgium (+5.1‰) had the largest net inflows, while Lithuania3 (-23.7‰) and Ireland (-7.5‰) recorded the highest net outflows.
In conclusion, the population increased in twenty Member States and decreased in seven, with considerable variations between Member States. The largest relative increases were observed in Luxembourg (+19.3‰), Sweden (+8.0‰), Malta (+7.8‰), Belgium (+7.2‰) and the United Kingdom (+6.6‰), and the largest decreases in Lithuania3 (-25.7‰), Latvia (-8.4‰) and Bulgaria (-7.8‰).