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The enlarged European Union: fifteen + ten = 455

Population and Societies

398, February 2004

When its ten new members join in May 2004, the European Union will have a population of 455 million people. It will then have the third-largest population in the world, far behind China’s 1.3 billion and India’s 1.1 billion inhabitants, but also well ahead of the United States (295 million), Russia (142 million) and Japan (128 million). Since being founded as the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957, a series of enlargements over the years have turned the European Union (EU) into a demographic powerhouse (figure 1). The addition of ten new members will increase the population by close to 75 million people, but the new entity will have a lower rate of population growth.

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