Germany could receive as many as 9.5 million migrants by 2080, but that won’t be enough to offset a dwindling population, and the United Kingdom will be left as the most populous Western European state by that time, according to analysis by Eurostat.

Can migrants fill the population gap?

Net migration is expected to continue in Western Europe, changing the demographic balance of the region. According to estimates, the UK could have more than 85 million people by 2080, just more than the number in France.

But the latest Eurostat report does not take into account the recent surge in migration to Europe. A Eurostat researcher, quoted in the Telegraph, said that it was “too early to say what the impact [of the refugee crisis] will be on future migration assumptions”.

Germany, where many migrants and refugees hope to settle, is teetering on a population crisis. Europe’s largest economy has seen its population fall by 1.4 million people. By 2080, its population could have dwindled from 80 million to just 65 million, as the projected number of deaths (65 million) fail to be compensated by the number of births (an estimated 40 million).

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Germany is not alone. The Eurostat report also shows that Greece, Portugal, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Latvia will see the most severe population shrinkage among EU states: 37%.

An age-old problem

Declining numbers in Europe are the result of an ageing population and low birth rates. In the World Economic Forum’s Global Population Ageing Report, nine of the 10 nations with the largest populations of over-60s and over-80s are in Europe. Only Japan has more senior citizens.

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Have you read?
How Europe’s population has changed since 2001
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Can refugees revive Europe’s ageing population

Author: Donald Armbrecht is a freelance writer and social media producer.

Image: A Bulgarian seamstress manufactures EU flags in a factory in the town of Parvomai. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov