The population of the European Union reached 502.5 million on 1 January 2011 according to data provided by the statistical office of the European Union. This is one million and a half more than a year ago.
Data also shows that that population increased in twenty EU member states and decreased in seven, with considerable variations between member states.
In effect, the population grew by 1.4 million in 2010 - due to a natural increase of 500,000 people and net migration of 900,000. The highest growth rates occurred in Ireland, Cyprus, France, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom.
During 2010, 5.4 million children were born with the highest birth rates recorded in Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Cyprus and Sweden. The lowest rates were in Germany, Latvia, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Portugal and Malta.
In the same period, some 4.8 million deaths registered with the highest death rates observed in Bulgaria, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania and Romania. The lowest death rates occurred in Ireland, Cyprus, Malta and Luxembourg.
Consequently, the highest population growth was registered in Ireland - well ahead of Cyprus, France, Luxembourg and the UK. And eight member states saw a population decline. They were Latvia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany and Romania.
Meanwhile, more than 60% of the increase in Europe's population was as a result of migration. Luxembourg, Malta, Sweden, Italy and Belgium had the largest net inflows - while Lithuania and Ireland recorded the highest net outflows.
A Eurostat spokesman said: ”In conclusion, the population increased in 20 member states and decreased in seven, with considerable variations. The largest relative increases were observed in Luxembourg, Sweden, Malta, Belgium and the UK - and the largest decreases in Lithuania, Latvia and Bulgaria”.
The Euro zone recorded 332 million people, in January 2011, a million more than a year ago.