Demographics of Europe
Figures for the population of Europe vary according to which definition of European boundaries is used. The population within the standard physical geographical boundaries was 740 million in 2010 according to the United Nations. In 2010 the population was 711 million, using the definition that Europe's boundaries are on the continental divides of the Caucasus and Ural mountains and the Bosporous, including the populated parts of countries of Russia, and a portion of Turkey. Population growth is comparatively slow, and median age comparatively high in relation to the world's other continents.
Since the Renaissance, Europe has had a dominating influence in culture, economics and social movements in the world. European demography is important not only historically, but also in understanding current international relations and population issues.
Some current and past issues in European demography have included religious emigration, ethnic relations, economic immigration, a declining birth rate and an ageing population. In some countries, such as Poland, access to abortion is currently limited and it is entirely illegal in the Mediterranean nation of Malta. In the past, such restrictions and also restrictions on artificial birth control were commonplace throughout Europe.
In 2010 the population of Europe was estimated to be 740 million according to the United Nations, which was slightly less than 11% of world population. The precise figure depends on the exact definition of the geographic extent of Europe. The population of the EU was 499 million as of 2008. Non-EU countries situated in Europe in their entirety account for another 94 million. Five transcontinental countries have a total of 240 million people, of which about half reside in Europe proper.
While the population of the continent has grown, it hasn't come close to the pace of Asia or Africa. As it stands now, around 12% of the world's people live on this continent, but if demographic trends keep their pace, Europe's share may fall to around 7% in 2050. Declining birth rates (particularly in Germany) and a high life expectancy in most European states means that the aging and declining population will be a problem for many European economies, political and social institutions. Countries on the edges of Europe, except for southern Europe, have generally stronger growth than Central European counterparts. Albania and Ireland have strong growth, hitting over 1% annually.
Population by country
According to different definitions, such as consideration of the concept of Central Europe, the following territories and regions may be subject to various other categorisations aside from geographic conventions.
|Name of regiona[›] and
territory, with flag
(1 December 2014 est.)
|Andorra||468||85,082||181.8||Andorra la Vella|
|Armenia||29,743||3,018,854 (in Asia)||101.5||Yerevan|
|Azerbaijan||86,600||9,494,600 (nearly all in Asia)||109.6||Baku|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||51,197||3,871,643||75.6||Sarajevo|
|Faroe Islands (Denmark)||1,399||49,709||35.6||Tórshavn|
|Georgiam[›]||69,700||4,935,880 (mostly in Asia)||70.8||Tbilisi|
|Guernseyd[›]||78||65,345||837.8||St. Peter Port|
|Isle of Mand[›]||572||84,497||147.8||Douglas|
|Republic of Macedonia||25,713||2,058,539||80.1||Skopje|
|Russiac[›]||17,075,400 (3,960,000 in European Russia)||143,700,000 (110,000,000 in European Russia)||8.3 (27.8 in European Russia)||Moscow|
|San Marino||61.2||32,576||532.3||San Marino|
| Svalbard and Jan
Mayen Islands (Norway)
|Turkey||783,562||76,667,864 (nearly 80% in Asia)||97.8||Ankara|
|Vatican City||0.44||842||1,913.6||Vatican City|
|Åland (within Finland)||1,580||28,666||18.1||Mariehamn|
Perhaps mirroring its declining population growth, European countries tend to have older populations overall. European countries had nine of the top ten highest median ages in national populations in 2005. Only Japan had an older population.
Over the last several decades, religious practice has been on the decline in a process of "Secularization." European countries have experienced a decline in church attendance, as well as a decline in the number of people professing a belief in a god. The Eurobarometer Poll 2010 found that, on average, 51% of the citizens of EU member states state that they believe in a god, 26% believe there is some sort of spirit or life Force while 20% do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god or Life Force, and 3% declined to answer. The Eurobarometer poll must be taken with caution, however, as there are discrepancies between it and national census results. For example in the United Kingdom, the 2001 census revealed over 70% of the population regarded themselves as "Christian" with only 15% professing to have "no religion", though the wording of the question has been criticized as "leading" by the British Humanist Association. The 2011 census showed a dramatic reduction to less than 60% of the population regarding themselves as "Christian".
According to a 2003 study, 47% of Frenchmen declared themselves as agnostic in 2003. This situation is often called "Post-Christian Europe". A decrease in religiousness and church attendance in western Europe (especially Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden) has been noted. According to a survey published in 2012 agnostic and atheist make up about 18.2% of Europeans population. According to the same survey religiously unaffiliated make up a majority of the population only in two European countries: Czech Republic (75%) and Estonia (60%).
According to another poll about Religiosity in the European Union from 2012 by Eurobarometer, Christianity was the largest religion in the European Union (account 72% of EU population), Catholics were with 48% the largest Christian group in EU, Protestants made up 12%, and Eastern Orthodoxs made up 8%, and Other Christians accounted for 4% of the EU population. Non believer/Agnostic account 16%, Atheist account's 7%, and Muslim 2%.
Pan and Pfeil (2004) count 87 distinct "peoples of Europe", of which 33 form the majority population in at least one sovereign state, while the remaining 54 constitute ethnic minorities. The total number of national minority populations in Europe is estimated at 105 million people, or 14% of 770 million Europeans. (including Europeans in Asian Russia)
The largest ethnic groups are the Russians, of whom 92 million reside in Europe, the Germans, with 72 million. In some countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Spain, the designation of nationality may controversially take on ethnic aspects, subsuming smaller ethnic groups such as Welsh, Bretons and Basques, making it difficult to quantify a "British" or "French" ethnicity, for example.
Approximately 20 million non-Europeans live in the EU, 4% of the overall population.
Most of the languages of Europe belong to the Indo-European language family. This family is divided into a number of branches, including Romance, Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, Albanian, Celtic and Greek. The Uralic languages, which include Hungarian, Finnish, and Estonian, also have a significant presence in Europe. The Turkic and Mongolic families also have several European members, while the North Caucasian and Kartvelian families are important in the southeastern extremity of geographical Europe. The Basque language of the western Pyrenees is an isolate unrelated to any other group, while Maltese is the only Semitic language in Europe with national language status.
The European Union (EU), which currently excludes many European countries (i.e. Norway, Russia and Switzerland), recognises 23 official languages as of 2007. According to the same source, the eight most natively spoken languages in the EU are (percentage of total EU population):
These figures change when foreign language skills are taken into account. The list below shows the top eight European languages ordered by total number of speakers in the EU:
- 49% English
- 35% German
- 26% French
- 16% Italian
- 15% Spanish
- 10% Polish
- 7% Russian
- 6% Dutch
This makes German the most frequently spoken native language and English the most frequently spoken non-native language overall in the European Union, with German the second-most common language overall.
Languages that are not official state languages are protected in many European countries by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. These can include languages spoken by relatively many people, such as Catalan and Basque in Spain, as well as languages spoken by relatively few such as Welsh, Cornish and Scottish Gaelic in the United Kingdom.
Homo sapiens appeared in Europe roughly 40,000 years ago, with the settlement of the Cro-magnons. Over the prehistoric period there was continual immigration to Europe, notably by the immediate descendents of the Proto-Indo-Europeans who migrated west after the advent of the Neolithic revolution.
MtDna and Y-Dna
Studies of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) have suggested substantial genetic homogeneity of European populations, with only a few geographic or linguistic isolates appearing to be genetic isolates as well. On the other hand, analyses of the Y chromosome  and of autosomal diversity  have shown a general gradient of genetic similarity running from the southeast to the northwest of the continent.
But, well-known areas with Mt-Dna and Y-Dna differences, discovered by grouping and tracking prehistorical genotype migrations, are in Iberia, in relation to the Basques of northern Spain and southwest France; and the Balkans of southeast Europe. Both were areas of refuge where early modern humans settled over 50,000 years ago, during the last ice age.
A study in May 2009  that examined 19 populations from Europe using 270,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) highlighted the genetic diversity of European populations corresponding to the northwest to southeast gradient and distinguished "several distinct regions" within Europe:
- Finland, in relation to the Saami.
- the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), western Russia and Poland.
- Central and Western Europe.
- Italy, South-Eastern Europe, Southern Russia.
In this study, Fst (Fixation index) was found to correlate considerably with geographic distances ranging from ≤0.0010 for neighbouring populations to 0.0230 for Southern Italy and Finland. For comparisons, pair-wise Fst of non-European samples were as follows: Europeans – Africans (Yoruba) 0.1530; Europeans – Chinese 0.1100; Africans (Yoruba) – Chinese 0.1900.
- Area and population of European countries
- Classical demography
- European diasporas
- European Union statistics
- Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits
- Largest urban areas of the European Union
- List of European countries by population growth rate
- List of metropolitan areas in Europe
- Medieval demography
^ a: Continental regions as per UN categorisations/map. Depending on definitions, various territories cited below may be in one or both of Europe and Asia, or Africa.
^ b: Includes Transnistria, a region that has declared, and de facto achieved, independence; however, it is not recognised de jure by sovereign states.
^ c: Russia is considered a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. However, the population and area figures include the entire state.
^ d: Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey are Crown dependencies of the United Kingdom. Other Channel Islands legislated by the Bailiwick of Guernsey include Alderney and Sark.
^ e: Cyprus is sometimes considered transcontinental country. Physiographically entirely in Western Asia it has strong historical and sociopolitical connections with Europe. The population and area figures refer to the entire state, including the de facto independent part Northern Cyprus.
^ f: Figures for Portugal include the Azores and Madeira archipelagos, both in Northern Atlantic.
^ g: Area figure for Serbia includes Kosovo, a province that unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008, and whose sovereign status is unclear. Population and density figures are 2010 estimates and are given without the disputed territory of Kosovo.
^ h: Figures for France include metropolitan France but not overseas departments and territories as they are not part of the European continent.
^ j: Kazakhstan is physiographically considered a transcontinental country in Central Asia (UN region) and Eastern Europe, with European territory west of the Ural Mountains and both the Ural and Emba rivers. However, area and population figures refer to the entire country.
^ k: Armenia is physiographically entirely in Western Asia, but it has strong historical and sociopolitical connections with Europe. The population and area figures include the entire state respectively.
^ m: Georgia is often considered a transcontinental country in Western Asia and Eastern Europe. However, the population and area figures include the entire state. This also includes Georgian estimates for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two regions that have declared and de facto achieved independence. The International recognition, however, is limited.
^ o: The total figures for area and population includes the whole of the transcontinental countries. The precision of these figure is compromised by the ambiguous geographical extend of Europe and the lack of references for European portions of transcontinental countries.
^ p: Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. Its sovereign status is unclear. Its population is a 2007 estimate.
^ r: Abkhazia and South Ossetia unilaterally declared their independence from Georgia on 25 August 1990 and 28 November 1991 respectively. Their sovereign status is unclear. Population figures stated as of 2003 census and 2000 estimates respectively.
- "World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision". UN — Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
- Albania 3.6, Belarus 10.3, Bosnia and Herzegovina 4.4, Croatia 4.4, Iceland 0.3, Republic of Macedonia 2.0, Moldova 4.4, Norway 4.5, Serbia+Kosovo 9.7, Switzerland 7.5, Ukraine 45.4
- Russia 142, Georgia 4.7, 8.6
- "The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- Europe, a Political Profile: An American Companion to European Politics - Hans Slomp - Google Břger. Books.google.dk. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision Highlights. 2005
- "Special Eurobarometer, biotechnology, page 204" (PDF). Fieldwork: Jan-Feb 2010. Check date values in:
- "Census 2011". Humanism.org.uk. 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- "BBC News - At-a-glance: Census 2011 findings". Bbc.co.uk. 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- "Global Christianity". Pewforum.org. 2011-12-19. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- "The Global Religious Landscape: Christians". Pewforum.org. 2012-12-18. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- Dogan, Mattei, Religious Beliefs in Europe: Factors of Accelerated Decline, 2003
- Religiously Unaffiliated
- Religiously Unaffiliated
- "Discrimination in the EU in 2012" (PDF). Special Eurobarometer. 383 (European Union: European Commission): 233. 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
- "Discrimination in the EU in 2012" (PDF), Special Eurobarometer, 383 (European Union: European Commission), 2012: 233, retrieved 14 August 2013 The question asked was "Do you consider yourself to be...?" With a card showing: Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, and Non-believer/Agnostic. Space was given for Other (SPONTANEOUS) and DK. Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu did not reach the 1% threshold.
- Christoph Pan, Beate Sibylle Pfeil,Minderheitenrechte in Europa. Handbuch der europäischen Volksgruppen (2002). Living-diversity.eu, English translation 2004.
- "2011: Year of Arab spring and pressure at Greek borders". Europolitics.info. 2012-05-31. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- Pan, Christoph; Pfeil, Beate S. (2003). "The Peoples of Europe by Demographic Size, Table 1". National Minorities in Europe: Handbook. Wien: Braumueller. p. 11f. ISBN 978-3-7003-1443-1. (a breakdown by country of these 87 groups is given in Table 5, pp. 17-31.)
- EUROPA - Education and Training - Languages in Europe
- see http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/lang/languages/index_en.html#languages%20of%20EU%2015 for full list
- see http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/lang/languages/index_en.html#Foreign%20language%20skills for full list
- Encyclopædia Britannica, s.v. "Europe : The people".
- Torroni A, Achilli A, Macaulay V, Richards M, Bandelt HJ (2006) Harvesting the fruit of the human mtDNA tree. Trends Genet 22: 339–345
- Simoni L, Calafell F, Pettener D, Bertranpetit J, Barbujani G (2000) Geographic patterns of mtDNA diversity in Europe. Am J Hum Genet 66: 262–278
- Chikhi L, Nichols RA, Barbujani G, Beaumont MA (2002) Y genetic data support the Neolithic demic diffusion model. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 99: 11008–11013
- Roewer L, Croucher PJ, Willuweit S, Lu TT, Kayser M, et al. (2005) Signature of recent historical events in the European Y-chromosomal STR haplotype distribution. Hum Genet 116: 279–291
- Barbujani G, Goldstein DB (2004) Africans and Asians abroad: genetic diversity in Europe. Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet 5: 119–150
- Genetic Structure of Europeans: A View from the North–East, Nelis et al. 2009
- "Pair-wise Fst between European samples". Retrieved 2014-01-19.