The population of Bulgaria was 7 050 000 as at January 1 2018, dropping from more than 7.1 million on the same date a year earlier, European Union statistics agency Eurostat said.
This represented a decrease of 7.3 percentage points, the fourth-largest drop in population in an EU country.
In 2017, the rate at which deaths outnumbered births was highest in Bulgaria, Eurostat said. Bulgaria also had the highest death rate in an EU country.
Eurostat said that on January 1 2018, the population of the EU was estimated at 512.6 million, compared with 511.5 million on January 1 2017.
During the year 2017, more deaths than births were recorded in the EU (5.3 million deaths and 5.1 million births), meaning that the natural change of the EU population was negative.
The population change (positive, with 1.1 million more inhabitants) was therefore due to net migration.
With 82.9 million residents (or 16.2 per cent of the total EU population on January 1 2018), Germany is the most populated EU country, ahead of France (67.2 million, or 13.1 per cent), the United Kingdom (66.2 million, or 12.9 per cent), Italy (60.5 million, or 11.8 per cent), Spain (46.7 million, or 9.1 per cent) and Poland (38.0 million, or 7.4 per cent).
For the remaining EU member states, nine have a share of between 1.5 per cent and 4 per cent of the EU population and 13 a share below 1.5 per cent.
During 2017, the population increased in 19 EU member states and decreased in nine.
The largest relative increase was observed in Malta (+32.9 per 1000 residents), ahead of Luxembourg (+19.0‰), Sweden (+12.4‰), Ireland (+11.2‰) and Cyprus (+11.0‰).
In contrast, the largest decrease was recorded in Lithuania (-13.8‰), followed by Croatia (-11.8‰), Latvia (-8.1‰), Bulgaria (-7.3‰) and Romania (-6.2‰). In total, the population of the EU increased by 1.1 million people (+2.1 per 1000 residents) during the year 2017.
During the year 2017, 5.1 million babies were born in the EU, almost 90 000 less than the previous year.
Across member states, the highest crude birth rates in 2017 were recorded in Ireland (12.9 per 1000 residents), Sweden (11.5‰), the United Kingdom and France (both 11.4‰), while the lowest were registered in southern member states: Italy (7.6‰), Greece (8.2‰), Portugal and Spain (both 8.4‰), Croatia (8.9‰) and Bulgaria (9.0‰).
At EU level, the crude birth rate was 9.9 per 1 000 residents. In the meantime, 5.3 million deaths were registered in the EU in 2017, 134 200 fewer than the previous year. Ireland (6.3 per 1 000 residents) and Cyprus (7.0‰) as well as Luxembourg (7.1‰) had in 2017 the lowest crude death rate, followed by Malta (7.6‰), the Netherlands (8.8‰), Spain and France (both 9.0‰).
At the opposite end of the scale, Bulgaria (15.5‰), Latvia (14.8‰), Lithuania (14.2‰), Hungary (13.5‰), Romania (13.3‰) and Croatia (12.9‰) recorded the highest.
The crude death rate was 10.3 per 1000 residents in the EU.
Consequently, Ireland (with a natural change of its population of +6.6‰) remained in 2017 the member state where births most outnumbered deaths, ahead of Cyprus (+3.8‰), Luxembourg (+3.2‰), France (+2.5‰), Sweden (+2.3‰) and the United Kingdom (+2.2‰).
In contrast, among the 14 EU member states which registered a negative natural change in 2017, deaths outnumbered births the most in Bulgaria (-6.5‰), followed by Croatia and Latvia (both -4.1‰), Lithuania (-4.0‰), Hungary (-3.8‰), Romania (-3.6‰), Greece (-3.3‰) and Italy (-3.2‰)…. / IBNA