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Population decline in the post-communist countries of the European Union

Population and Societies

567, June 2019

In Central and Eastern Europe, the fall of communist regimes was followed by significant demographic changes. To illustrate these changes, Agnieszka Fihel and Marek Okólski examine population trends over the last three decades in the 11 Eastern European countries that have joined the European Union, and they compare them with the patterns observed in the 17 other EU countries.

The European Union includes 11 post-communist countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia). The population of this group of countries has fallen by 7% since 1989, whereas that of the rest of the EU has risen by 13%. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, these countries had younger populations than the rest of the EU, but they are now ageing due to low fertility and mass emigration of young people.

  • Agnieszka Fihel
  • Marek Okólski

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