Deaths are expected to outnumber births in the European Union from 2015 when migration will become the only source of population growth, according to an EU report released Tuesday.
In the near-term, the number of EU citizens in the 27-nation bloc will swell from today’s 495 million to 521 million in 2035. But after that it will shrink back gradually to 506 million in 2060, according to the EU’s statistics agency.
Many more people will live longer, with those aged 80 or over almost tripling in number from 22 million now to 61 million in 2060, Eurostat predicts.
By 2060, Britain will overtake Germany and France to become the European Union’s most populous state, increasing by a quarter to 77 million.
Germany will shrink to 71 million while France will grow to 72 million, Italy to 59 million and Spain to 52 million.
Ireland—which currently has Europe’s second highest birth rate after France—will grow by half, while Cyprus, one of the EU’s smallest states, will expand by three quarters.
Some eastern European states will see their populations fall dramatically. Bulgaria will drop by 28 percent, Latvia by 26 percent, Lithuania by 24 percent, Romania by 21 percent and Poland by 18 percent, Eurostat forecasts.