Population density in the European Union
and the EFTA
countries, along with candidate countries (2017)
Estimates for historical population sizes of Europe (including Central Asia, listed under "former USSR
") based on Maddison (2007),
in millions, with estimated percentage of world population
Population of Europe, in millions, by year
Historical Population of Europe and former USSR, AD 1–1998
Source: Maddison and others (University of Groningen).
Population by year (in thousands)
Percentages of world population, by year
Note: These numbers do not include the population of European countries' colonies. Only population within Europe.
330,000,000 people lived in Europe in 1916.
In 1950 there were 549,000,000.
The population of Europe in 2015 was estimated to be 741 million according to the United Nations
which was slightly less than 11% of the world population
. The precise figure depends on the exact definition of the geographic extent of Europe
. The population of the European Union
(EU) was 509 million as of 2015.
Non-EU countries situated in Europe in their entirety
account for another 94 million. Five transcontinental countries
have a total of 247 million people, of which about half reside in Europe proper.
As it stands now, around 10% of the world's people live in Europe. If demographic trends keep their pace, its share may fall to around 7% in 2050, but still amounting to 716 million people in absolute numbers, according to the United Nations estimate.
(The decline in the percentage
is partly due to high fertility rates
in other parts of the world.) The sub-replacement fertility and high life expectancy in most European states mean a declining and aging population. High immigration and emigration levels within and from outside the continent are taking place and quickly changing countries, specificly in Western Europe, from a single ethnic group
to a multicultural society
. These trends change societies' economies
as well as their political
and social institutions
Birth and death rates, by year
Population by country
Modern political map
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.
Population and area of European countries/territories
Mirroring their mostly sub-replacement fertility and high life expectancy
, European countries tend to have older populations overall. They had nine of the top ten highest median ages in national populations in 2005. Only Japan
had an older population.
Over the last several centuries, religious practice has been on the decline in a process of secularization
. Several European countries have experienced a decline in church attendance as well as a decline in the number of people professing a religious belief. The 2010 Eurobarometer
survey found that, on average, 51% of the citizens of the European Union that they believe there is a God, 26% believe there is some sort of spirit or life force and 20% don't believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force. 3% declined to answer.
The Eurobarometer survey 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 that over 70% of the population regarded themselves as "Christians" with only 15% professing to have no religion, though the wording of the question has been criticized as "misleading" by the British Humanist Association
The 2011 census showed a dramatic reduction to less than 60% of the population regarding themselves as "Christians".
Despite its decline, Christianity
is still the largest religion in Europe. According to a survey published in 2010, 76.2% of Europeans identified themselves as Christians. Catholics
were the largest Christian group in Europe, accounting for more than 48% of European Christians.
The second-largest Christian group in Europe was the Orthodox
, who made up 32% of European Christians.
And about 19% of European Christians were part of the Protestant
tradition. Europe constitutes in absolute terms the world's largest Christian population
Muslims are younger and have more children than non-Muslims in Europe overall.
Age and fertility rate for women in Europe
Fertility and migration drove Muslim population growth in Europe between 2010 and 2016.
Estimated population change between 2010 and 2016 due to three factors (millions)
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 Siberia)
The largest ethnic groups are the Russians
, with 117 million, and 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 Scots
, 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.
There are an estimated 10 million Romani people
Most of the languages of Europe belong to the Indo-European language family
. This family is divided into a number of branches, including Romance
. The Uralic languages
, which include Hungarian
, and Estonian
, also have a significant presence in Europe. The Turkic
family also has several European members, while the North Caucasian
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 most spoken language of Europe is Russian
, which belongs to the group of Slavic languages.
- 19% German
- 13% French
- 12% English
- 11% Italian
- 9% Spanish
- 9% Polish
- 7% Romanian
- 5% Dutch
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.
Mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome 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.
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:
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
. For comparisons, pair-wise Fst of non-European samples were as follows: Europeans – Yoruba (West Africans) 0.1530; Europeans – Chinese 0.1100; Yoruba (West Africans) – Chinese 0.1900.
A recent genetic study published in the "European Journal of Human Genetics"
(2019) showed that populations of Europe
, South Asia
(India), Western Asia
, Northern Africa
, and parts of Central Asia
are closely related to each other. These mentioned groups are distinguishable from selected control populations in East Asia, Western Africa and Eastern Africa (Somali & Ethiopian Jews, selected as outlier clusters).
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
, 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
are Crown dependencies
of the United Kingdom. Other Channel Islands
in the Bailiwick of Guernsey
.^ e: Cyprus
is physiographically entirely in Western Asia
, but 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
Figures for Portugal
include the Azores
archipelagos, both in Northern Atlantic
Area figure for Serbia
, 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
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
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.
The total fertility rate is the number of children born per woman.
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- ^ a b Christianity in Europe, excluding the Asian part of Russia, including the European part of Turkey
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- ^ Dogan, Mattei, Religious Beliefs in Europe: Factors of Accelerated Decline, 2003
- ^ a b "Religiously Unaffiliated". Pewforum.org. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
- ^ "Discrimination in the EU in 2012" (PDF). Special Eurobarometer. 383. European Union: European Commission: 233. 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 December 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
- ^ "Discrimination in the EU in 2012" (PDF), Special Eurobarometer, 383, European Union: European Commission, p. 233, 2012, archived from the original (PDF) on 2 December 2012, 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.
- ^ a b "The Growth of Germany's Muslim Population", Pew Research Center, 29 November 2017
- ^ a b Conrad Hackett (29 November 2017), "5 facts about the Muslim population in Europe", Pew Research Center
- ^ Christoph Pan, Beate Sibylle Pfeil,Minderheitenrechte in Europa. Handbuch der europäischen Volksgruppen (2002). Living-diversity.eu, English translation 2004.
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Last edited on 22 July 2021, at 23:18
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