Romania’s population will drop by 9% in the next thirty years as the population ages and entire regions are depopulated.
The demographic decline is a pattern reflected across Eastern Europe, statistics released by Eurostat on Thursday show.
The report forecasts that the average age of the population in the region will see an age increase of eight years.
The median age of population across the EU and four other countries is projected to increase by 4 years on average across regions up to 49.1 years in 2050.
Population declined will be most marked in rural areas while populations are projected to grow in almost three out of five urban regions of the EU.
The biggest projected population decline is in Estonia, which is expected to shrink by 17.7% by 2050. Greece’s population will contract by 16.7%, the report projected, and Poland will also lose 10.3% of its population.
Romania currently has a population of 19.4 million, the highest in the region after Poland. When communism ended in 1989, there were 23 million Romanian citizens.
Romania will see the sharpest decline will be in rural areas which will lose one-fourth of its population by 2050, the report predicted.
Migration, low birth rates and reduced fertility are the main reasons for the population decline, analysts say.
There are estimated to be between 4-5 million Romanians who moved abroad in recent years, although figures vary. Many migrated for better-paying jobs and more opportunities.
On the other end of the spectrum, Malta is expected to see a 35.4% increase from 2019 to 2050 in overall urban population, the highest among European Union countries, Eurostat statistics show.
Malta is followed by Ireland (29.2%) and Sweden (25.1%) when it comes to increase in overall urban population.