Azara Blog: UK will allegedly be the most populous in the EU by 2060

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Date published: 2008/08/27

The BBC says:

The UK population is set to become the largest in the European Union, according to a report.

It is expected to increase from its current figure of 61 million to almost 77 million in 2060 - a rise of 25%.

This would make it the largest population in the EU, ahead of the projections for France (72 million) and Germany (71 million).

The EU's statistical office Eurostat also predicts the EU population will be 506m in 2060, up from 495m in 2008.

It is expected to peak at 521m in 2035 but then decline.

If there is one thing that can be predicted about this prediction, it is that it is almost certainly completely wrong. So you can take recent population trends and easily enough extrapolate them off into the future for as long as you want. But it's just that, an extrapolation. The UK population has recently increased because of immigration from countries which joined the EU in 2005. That was a one-off, and could easily be reversed (nobody knows, least of all the EU). This makes any extrapolation dangerously unreliable. (And it's also quite possible that the UK will break up long before 2060, so by then nobody might care what the population of the ex-UK specifically is.) (And who knows, maybe Russia will join the EU by 2060, and it might then be the biggest.)

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