Projecting Europe’s Metro Population Growth from 2021‒2100
Projecting Europe’s Metro Population Growth from 2021‒2100
European cities have a storied history as global destinations, both for tourism and for immigration.
Despite lengthy histories, they are not immune to the global shifts in population patterns or urbanization. Even though the majority of the EU’s population already lives in urban areas, Europe’s urbanization rate is expected to rise to 84% by 2050.
However, not all cities are subject to that same growth. This visual from Gilbert Fontana uses data from Eurostat and breaks down the expected EU population growth rates for the 50 largest metropolitan regions from 2021 to 2100.
Drivers of Growth
It may come as no surprise that economic prosperity is a key driver of population growth.
Countries like Sweden, France, and Ireland are expected to see large swaths of population growth. Sweden’s largest three cities, Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö, are forecasted to experience the largest population growth by 2100 in percentage terms.
|Metro region||Country||Population (2021)||Population (2100)||Growth rate (%)|
|Málaga - Marbella||Spain||1,696,463||1,797,664||5.9%|
|Murcia - Cartagena||Spain||1,513,076||1,599,781||5.7%|
|Alicante - Elche||Spain||1,895,192||1,911,954||0.8%|
|Lille - Dunkirk - Valenciennes||France||2,607,879||2,628,268||0.7%|
This forecasted growth underscores the strength of Sweden’s economy and global identity, with a very high GDP-per-capita and consistently ranking highly in economic freedom and prosperity.
Europe’s largest population growth in raw numbers, meanwhile, is expected in Spain. The populations of both Madrid and Barcelona are each forecasted to grow by more than 1.6 million people between 2021 and 2100.
On the flip side, some of the regions with the lowest levels of expected growth face challenging economic environments.
For example, Greece is still suffering from the fallout of its sovereign debt crisis in the 2010s, which significantly harmed economic prospects for everyday people. Even though many working-class people have already left the country, Athens is currently expected to see a further population reduction of 1.3 million people or 38% of its population by the end of the century.
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
Comparing Population Pyramids Around the World
Population pyramids can show a country’s demographic advantages and challenges at a glance. See how different parts of the world stack up.
Understanding and Comparing Population Pyramids
Demographic data can reveal all kinds of insights about a population, from the country’s fertility and mortality rates to how certain events and policies have shaped the makeup of a population.
Population pyramids are one of the best ways to visualize population data, and comparing the pyramids of various countries and regions side-by-side can reveal unexpected insights and differences between groups.
This graphic uses population data from the United Nations to compare the demographics of some select nations and regions of the world, showcasing how much age distributions can vary.
Three Types of Population Pyramids
Although population pyramids can come in all shapes and sizes, most generally fall into three distinct categories:
- Expansive Pyramids: Recognized by their traditional “pyramid-like” shape with a broad base and narrow top, expansive pyramids reflect a population with a high birth rate along with a high mortality rate which is most common in developing countries.
- Constrictive Pyramids: With a narrow base and thicker middle and top sections of the pyramid, constrictive pyramids often occur in developed economies whose populations have low birth rates and long life expectancies.
- Stationary Pyramids: These pyramids showcase an evenly distributed population across age groups, often found in newly-developed countries which have stable birth and mortality rates.
Each population pyramid is essentially a visual snapshot of a nation’s current demographic breakdown, shaped by fluctuating birth and mortality rates as well as changes to immigration and social policies.
Understanding the inherent risks associated with different pyramid types can help give insight into the challenges these populations face.
The Risks of Different Population Pyramid Types
Each type of population pyramid structure has unique challenges and advantages often characterized by the country or region’s current stage of economic development.
Populations with expansive pyramids, such as the one representing the continent of Africa, have the advantage of a larger youth and working-aged population, however this advantage can be rendered null if job growth, education, and health care aren’t prioritized.
Countries with constrictive pyramids like Japan face the challenge of supporting their outsized aging population with a diminishing working-aged population. While immigration and increasing birth rates can help in both the short and long term, due to the working population being outnumbered, countries with constrictive pyramids must find ways to increase their productivity to avoid potential declines in economic growth.
China and India’s Demographics Compared
After the world’s population reached eight billion people last year, 2023 brought a new population milestone as India overtook China as the world’s most populous country.
When you compare the two nations’ population pyramids, you can see how India’s population has a strong base of young and working-aged people compared to China’s more constrictive population pyramid that also features a higher median age.
This demographic difference is largely shaped by China’s one-child policy which since 2021 was loosened to be a three-child policy. As a result, China’s total fertility rate is around 1.2 today, in contrast to India’s total fertility rate of 2.0.
While India is set to ride the productivity boom of its large working-age population, the country will have to ensure it can keep its population pyramid stable as the majority of the population ages and total fertility rates continue to decline.
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