Joint Research Centre analysis reveals divergent population growth, decline and ageing across Europe

Today, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published a new report on the Demographic Landscapes of EU territories, moving beyond traditional country-level analysis to explore Europe’s demographic change in detail, right down to individual neighbourhoods. The report finds that Europe’s population is getting older but also, that not all places are ageing equally. Findings also show that the gap between regions of population growth and regions of population decline is set to widen in the coming decades. Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, said: “This report on the Demographic Landscape of EU Territories provides the insights and tools necessary for us to better understand demographic change in Europe and to tailor our policies to the new realities on the ground. It helps us to capture the diversity of regional dynamics, which we will use to better target our initiatives in response to the new challenges we are all facing.” Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, Mariya Gabriel, said: “This report draws on demographic expertise at the Commission’s Joint Research Centre, and is a welcome contribution to fostering effective policies to counteract economic or demographic decline. Demography is not only relevant for a strong European economy, but also for the functioning of our democracies.” The report reveals that young people moving, for work or studies, are having a major impact on demographic change, with some regions thriving and others lagging behind. EU Cohesion policy, and innovation policies targeting regions, can help address territorial imbalances by providing services and economic opportunities so that currently depopulated areas become more attractive places to live. The Commission has recently adopted a Green Paper and launched a public consultation to discuss possible ways to anticipate and respond to the socioeconomic impacts of Europe’s ageing population. This latest report from the Joint Research Centre adds valuable insights on the territorial dimension of demographic change and the challenges and opportunities presented and feeds into the work on the long-term vision for rural areas, which the Commission will present in June. The JRC press release is available here.