Figures for the population of Europe vary according to how one defines the boundaries of Europe. According to the United Nations, the population within the standard physical geographical boundaries comprised 737 million in 2010.[1] In 2010 the population was 711 million,[citation needed] defining Europe's boundaries as the continental divides of the Caucasus and Ural mountains and the Bosporous, and including the European parts of the countries of Russia and of Turkey.

Europe's population growth is comparatively low, and its median age comparatively high, in relation to the world's other continents, especially compared to Asia, Africa and Latin America. Most of Europe is in a mode of sub-replacement fertility, which means that each new(-born) generation is becoming less populous than the older.[2] Nonetheless most European countries still have growing populations due to immigration, population momentum and increases in life expectancy. Some current and past factors in European demography have included emigration, ethnic relations, economic immigration, a declining birth rate and an ageing population.


Estimates for historical population sizes of Europe (including Central Asia, listed under "former USSR") based on Maddison (2007),[3] in millions, with estimated percentage of world population:

AD 1 1000 1500 1600 1700 1820 1913 2000
34 (15%) 40 (15%) 78 (18%) 112 (20%) 127 (21%) 224 (21%) 498 (28%) 742 (13%)

Total population

330,000,000 people lived in Europe in 1916.[4] In 1950 there were 549,000,000.[1] The population of Europe in 2015 was estimated to be 741 million according to the United Nations,[1] which was slightly less than 11 % of the world population. The precise figure depends on the exact definition of the geographic extent of Europe. The population of the European Union (EU) was 509 million as of 2015.[5] Non-EU countries situated in Europe in their entirety[6] account for another 94 million. Five transcontinental countries[7] have a total of 247 million people, of which about half reside in Europe proper.

As it stands now, around 12 % of the world's people live in Europe. If demographic trends keep their pace, its share may fall to around 7 % in 2050, but still amounting to 716 million people in absolute numbers, according to the United Nations estimate.[1] (The decline in the percentage is partly due to high fertility rates in other parts of the world.) The sub-replacement fertility and high life expectancy in most European states mean a declining and aging population as it isn't offset by the current immigration level. This situation is expected[by whom?] to be a challenge for their economies, political and social institutions. Countries on the edges of Europe[clarification needed], except for southern Europe, have generally stronger growth than Central European counterparts. Albania and Ireland have strong growth, hitting over 1 % annually.

Population by country

Modern political map (2006).
Council of Europe nations, with founding nations in yellow.

According to different definitions, such as consideration of the concept of Central Europe, the following territories and regions may be subject to various other categorisations aside from geographic conventions.

Name of regiona[›] and
territory, with flag
Population Population density
(per km2)
Albania Albania 28,748 3,020,209 105.1 Tirana
Andorra Andorra 468 85,082 181.8 Andorra la Vella
Armenia Armenia 29,743 3,018,854 101.5 Yerevan
Austria Austria 83,879 8,504,850 101.4 Vienna
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan 86,600 9,754,830 112.6 Baku
Belarus Belarus 207,595 9,475,100 45.6 Minsk
Belgium Belgium 30,528 11,198,638 366.8 Brussels
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina 51,197 3,871,643 75.6 Sarajevo
Bulgaria Bulgaria 110,994 7,364,570 66.4 Sofia
Croatia Croatia 56,594 4,284,889 75.7 Zagreb
Cyprus Cypruse[›] 9,251 1,117,000 120.7 Nicosia
Czech Republic Czech Republic 78,866 10,513,209 133.3 Prague
Denmark Denmark 42,925 5,655,750 131.6 Copenhagen
Estonia Estonia 45,227 1,315,819 29.1 Tallinn
Faroe Islands Faroe Islands (Denmark) 1,399 49,709 35.6 Tórshavn
Finland Finland 338,424 5,470,820 16.2 Helsinki
France France 643,801 66,730,000 103.7 Paris
Georgia (country) Georgia 69,700 3,729,000 53.5 Tbilisi
Germany Germany 357,168 80,716,000 226.0 Berlin
Gibraltar Gibraltar (UK) 6.8 30,001 4,348.0 Gibraltar
Greece Greece 131,957 10,816,286 82.0 Athens
Guernsey Guernseyd[›] 78 65,345 837.8 St. Peter Port
Hungary Hungary 93,030 9,877,365 106.2 Budapest
Iceland Iceland 103,001 325,671 3.2 Reykjavík
Republic of Ireland Ireland 70,273 4,609,600 65.6 Dublin
Isle of Man Isle of Mand[›] 572 84,497 147.8 Douglas
Italy Italy 301,338 60,782,668 201.7 Rome
Jersey Jerseyd[›] 118 97,857 827.9 Saint Helier
Kazakhstan Kazakhstanj[›] 2,724,900 17,987,736 6.49 Astana
Kosovo Kosovop[›] 10,908 1,859,203 170.4 Pristina
Latvia Latvia 64,589 1,990,300 30.8 Riga
Liechtenstein Liechtenstein 160 37,132 232.1 Vaduz
Lithuania Lithuania 65,300 2,944,459 45.1 Vilnius
Luxembourg Luxembourg 2,586 549,680 212.6 Luxembourg
Republic of Macedonia Macedonia 25,713 2,058,539 80.1 Skopje
Malta Malta 316 446,547 1,413.1 Valletta
Moldova Moldova 33,846 2,913,281 86.1 Chişinău
Monaco Monaco 2.02 36,371 18,005.4 Monaco
Montenegro Montenegro 13,812 647,905 46.9 Podgorica
Netherlands Netherlands 41,543 16,856,620 405.8 Amsterdam
Norway Norway 385,178 5,136,700 13.3 Oslo
Poland Poland 312,679 38,483,957 123.1 Warsaw
Portugal Portugalf[›] 92,212 10,427,301 113.1 Lisbon
Romania Romania 238,391 19,942,642 83.7 Bucharest
Russia Russia 17,075,400 143,700,000 8.5 Moscow
San Marino San Marino 61.2 32,576 532.3 San Marino
Serbia Serbiag[›] 77,461 7,041,599 90.9 Belgrade
Slovakia Slovakia 49,035 5,415,949 110.5 Bratislava
Slovenia Slovenia 20,273 2,061,085 101.7 Ljubljana
Spain Spain 504,645 46,704,314 92.6 Madrid
Norway Svalbard and Jan
Mayen Islands
62,049 2,868 0.046 Longyearbyen
Sweden Sweden 449,964 10,004,962 21.6 Stockholm
Switzerland Switzerland 41,285 8,183,800 198.2 Bern
Transnistria Transnistria 4,163 505,000 121.3 Tiraspol
Turkey Turkey 783,356 79,814,871 102 Ankara
Ukraine Ukraine 603,628 42,539,010 73.8 Kiev
United Kingdom United Kingdom 243,610 64,100,000 263.1 London
Vatican City Vatican City 0.44 842 1,913.6 Vatican City
Åland Islands Åland (within Finland) 1,580 28,666 18.1 Mariehamn


Mirroring their mostly sub-replacement fertility and high life expectancy, European countries tend to have older populations overall. They had nine of the top ten highest median ages in national populations in 2005. Only Japan had an older population.[8]


Over the last several decades, religious practice has been on the decline in a process of secularization. European countries have experienced a decline in church attendance as well as a decline in the number of people professing a religious belief. The 2010 Eurobarometer survey found that, on average, 51% of the citizens of the EU member states state that they believe there is a God, 26% believe there is some sort of spirit or life force and 20% don't believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force. 3% declined to answer.[9] The Eurobarometer survey must be taken with caution, however, as there are discrepancies between it and national census results. For example, in the United Kingdom, the 2001 census revealed that over 70% of the population regarded themselves as "Christians" with only 15% professing to have no religion, though the wording of the question has been criticized as "misleading" by the British Humanist Association.[10] The 2011 census showed a dramatic reduction to less than 60% of the population regarding themselves as "Christians".[11]

Despite its decline, Christianity is still the largest religion in Europe. According to a survey published in 2010, 76.2% of Europeans identified themselves as Christians.[12][13] Catholics were the largest Christian group in Europe, accounting for more than 48% of European Christians.[14] The second-largest Christian group in Europe was the Orthodox, who made up 32% of European Christians.[14] And about 19% of European Christians were part of the Protestant tradition.

According to a 2003 study,[15] 47% of French people declared themselves as agnostics in 2003. This situation is often called "Post-Christian Europe". A decrease in religiousness and church attendance in western Europe (especially in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden) has been noted. According to a survey published in 2012 Atheists and Agnostics make up about 18.2% of the European population.[16] According to the same survey the religiously unaffiliated make up the majority of the population only in two European countries: Czech Republic (75%) and Estonia (60%).[16]

According to another survey about Religiosity in the European Union from 2012 by Eurobarometer, Christianity was the largest religion in the European Union (accounting for 72% of the EU population), Catholics were with 48% the largest Christian group in EU, Protestants made up 12%, Eastern Orthodox made up 8% and other Christians accounted for 4% of the EU population.[17] non-believers/agnostics accounted for 16%, atheists accounted for 7% and Muslims accounted for 2%.[18]

Ethnic groups

Pan and Pfeil (2004) count 87 distinct "peoples of Europe", of which 33 form the majority population in at least one sovereign state, while the remaining 54 constitute ethnic minorities. The total number of national minority populations in Europe is estimated at 105 million people, or 14% of 770 million Europeans. (including Europeans in Asian Russia)[19]

The largest ethnic groups are the Russians, of whom 92 million reside in Europe, the Germans, with 72 million. In some countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Spain, the designation of nationality may controversially take on ethnic aspects, subsuming smaller ethnic groups such as Scots, Welsh, Bretons and Basques, making it difficult to quantify a "British" or "French" ethnicity, for example.

Approximately 20 million non-Europeans live in the EU, 4% of the overall population.[20]


Most of the languages of Europe belong to the Indo-European language family. This family is divided into a number of branches, including Romance, Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, Albanian, Celtic and Greek. The Uralic languages, which include Hungarian, Finnish, and Estonian, also have a significant presence in Europe. The Turkic and Mongolic families also have several European members, while the North Caucasian and Kartvelian families are important in the southeastern extremity of geographical Europe. The Basque language of the western Pyrenees is an isolate unrelated to any other group, while Maltese is the only Semitic language in Europe with national language status.

The European Union (EU), which currently excludes many European countries (i.e. Norway, Russia and Switzerland), recognises 23 official languages as of 2007.[22] According to the same source, the eight most natively spoken languages in the EU are (percentage of total EU population[22]):

  1. 19% German
  2. 13% French
  3. 12% English
  4. 11% Italian
  5. 9% Spanish
  6. 9% Polish
  7. 7% Romanian
  8. 5% Dutch

These figures change when foreign language skills are taken into account. The list below shows the top eight European languages ordered by total number of speakers in the EU:[22]

  1. 49% English
  2. 35% German
  3. 26% French
  4. 16% Italian
  5. 15% Spanish
  6. 10% Polish
  7. 7% Russian
  8. 6% Dutch

This makes German the most frequently spoken native language and English the most frequently spoken non-native language overall in the European Union, with German the second-most common language overall.

Languages that are not official state languages are protected in many European countries by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. These can include languages spoken by relatively many people, such as Catalan and Basque in Spain, as well as languages spoken by relatively few such as Welsh, Cornish and Scottish Gaelic in the United Kingdom.

Genetic origins

Distribution and percentage of the major haplogroups

Homo sapiens appeared in Europe roughly 40,000 years ago, with the settlement of the Cro-magnons. Over the prehistoric period there was continual immigration to Europe, notably by the immediate descendants of the Proto-Indo-Europeans who migrated west after the advent of the Neolithic revolution.[23]

Mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome DNA

Studies of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) have suggested substantial genetic homogeneity of European populations,[24] with only a few geographic or linguistic isolates appearing to be genetic isolates as well.[25] On the other hand, analyses of the Y chromosome [26][27] and of autosomal diversity[28] have shown a general gradient of genetic similarity running from the southeast to the northwest of the continent.

Y-chromosome DNA

Listed here are the average frequencies of human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups found in indigenous people of geographical Europe (including only the European parts of Russia and Turkey).[29]

Haplogroup Total Europe Western Europe Northern Europe Southern Europe Eastern Europe
R1b 33.5% 50.5% 53.0% 41.5% 9.0%
R1a 21.0% 9.5% 9.5% 6.0% 43.5%
I2 9.5% 6.5% 6.0% 9.5% 13.5%
I1 8.5% 13.0% 18.0% 3.5% 5.5%
E1b1b 7.0% 6.0% 2.0% 12.5% 5.5%
J2 6.5% 5.0% 2.5% 13.0% 5.0%
N 5.5% 0.5% 6.5% 0.5% 12.5%
G 3.5% 5.5% 1.0% 6.0% 2.0%
T 1.0% 1.0% 0.5% 2.5% 1.0%
J1 1.0% 0.5% 0.0% 2.5% 0.5%
Q 0.5% 0.5% 0.5% 0.5% 1.0%
Others 1.5% 1.5% 0.5% 2.0% 1.0%

Population structure

A study in May 2009 [30] that examined 19 populations from Europe using 270,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) highlighted the genetic diversity of European populations corresponding to the northwest to southeast gradient and distinguished "several distinct regions" within Europe:

In this study, Fst (Fixation index) was found to correlate considerably with geographic distances ranging from ≤0.0010 for neighbouring populations to 0.0230 for Southern Italy and Finland. For comparisons, pair-wise Fst of non-European samples were as follows: Europeans – Africans (Yoruba) 0.1530; Europeans – Chinese 0.1100; Africans (Yoruba) – Chinese 0.1900.[31]

See also


^ a: Continental regions as per UN categorisations/map. Depending on definitions, various territories cited below may be in one or both of Europe and Asia, or Africa.
^ b: Includes Transnistria, a region that has declared, and de facto achieved, independence; however, it is not recognised de jure by sovereign states.
^ c: Russia is considered a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. However, the population and area figures include the entire state.
^ d: Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey are Crown dependencies of the United Kingdom. Other Channel Islands legislated by the Bailiwick of Guernsey include Alderney and Sark.
^ e: Cyprus is sometimes considered transcontinental country. Physiographically entirely in Western Asia it has strong historical and sociopolitical connections with Europe. The population and area figures refer to the entire state, including the de facto independent part Northern Cyprus.
^ f: Figures for Portugal include the Azores and Madeira archipelagos, both in Northern Atlantic.
^ g: Area figure for Serbia includes Kosovo, a province that unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008, and whose sovereign status is unclear. Population and density figures are 2010 estimates and are given without the disputed territory of Kosovo.
^ h: Figures for France include metropolitan France but not overseas departments and territories as they are not part of the European continent.
^ j: Kazakhstan is physiographically considered a transcontinental country in Central Asia (UN region) and Eastern Europe, with European territory west of the Ural Mountains and both the Ural and Emba rivers. However, area and population figures refer to the entire country.
^ k: Armenia is physiographically entirely in Western Asia, but it has strong historical and sociopolitical connections with Europe. The population and area figures include the entire state respectively.
^ m: Georgia is often considered a transcontinental country in Western Asia and Eastern Europe. However, the population and area figures include the entire state. This also includes Georgian estimates for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two regions that have declared and de facto achieved independence. The International recognition, however, is limited.
^ o: The total figures for area and population includes the whole of the transcontinental countries. The precision of these figure is compromised by the ambiguous geographical extend of Europe and the lack of references for European portions of transcontinental countries.
^ p: Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. Its sovereign status is unclear. Its population is a 2007 estimate.
^ r: Abkhazia and South Ossetia unilaterally declared their independence from Georgia on 25 August 1990 and 28 November 1991 respectively. Their sovereign status is unclear. Population figures stated as of 2003 census and 2000 estimates respectively.


  1. ^ a b c d "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". UN — Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  2. ^ "Figure 8: Population by Total Fertility (millions)" in World Population Prospects, the 2010 Revision. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2011)
  3. ^ Angus Maddison, The World Economy: Historical Statistics, Statistical Appendix (2007, ggdc.net). Estimates cited are for the beginning of the 1st millennium ("year 0"), the beginning of the 2nd millennium ("year 1000"), and for the beginning each century since the 16th (years 1820 and 1913 are given for the 19th and 20th century, respectively, as Maddison presents detailed estimates for these years), and a projection for the year 2030.
  4. ^ Charles Morris, ed. (1916). Winston's Cumulative ...: Encyclopedia; a Comprehensive Reference Book, Volume 4. Winston's Cumulative ...: Encyclopedia; a Comprehensive Reference Book. John C. Winston Company. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Eurostat: Population on 1 January". European Commission. Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  6. ^ Population in million: Albania 2.9, Belarus 9.5, Bosnia and Herzegovina 3.5, Croatia 4.2, Iceland 0.3, Republic of Macedonia 2.1, Moldova 4.1, Norway 5.2, Serbia and Kosovo 8.9, Switzerland 8.3, Ukraine 44.7.
  7. ^ Population in million: Armenia 2.9, Georgia 4.0, Kazakhstan 17.8, Russia 144, Turkey 78.3.
  8. ^ United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision Highlights. 2005
  9. ^ "Special Eurobarometer, biotechnology, page 204" (PDF). 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 December 2010. 
  10. ^ "Census 2011". Humanism.org.uk. 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  11. ^ "BBC News - At-a-glance: Census 2011 findings". Bbc.co.uk. 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  12. ^ "Global Christianity". Pewforum.org. 2011-12-19. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  13. ^ "The Global Religious Landscape: Christians". Pewforum.org. 2012-12-18. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  14. ^ a b Christianity in Europe, excluding the Asian part of Russia, including the European part of Turkey
  15. ^ Dogan, Mattei, Religious Beliefs in Europe: Factors of Accelerated Decline, 2003
  16. ^ a b "Religiously Unaffiliated". Pewforum.org. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2018. 
  17. ^ "Discrimination in the EU in 2012" (PDF). Special Eurobarometer. 383. European Union: European Commission: 233. 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 December 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  18. ^ "Discrimination in the EU in 2012" (PDF), Special Eurobarometer, 383, European Union: European Commission, p. 233, 2012, archived from the original (PDF) on 2 December 2012, retrieved 14 August 2013  The question asked was "Do you consider yourself to be...?" With a card showing: Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, and Non-believer/Agnostic. Space was given for Other (SPONTANEOUS) and DK. Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu did not reach the 1% threshold.
  19. ^ Christoph Pan, Beate Sibylle Pfeil,Minderheitenrechte in Europa. Handbuch der europäischen Volksgruppen (2002). Living-diversity.eu, English translation 2004.
  20. ^ "Migration and migrant population statistics". Ec.europa.eu. 2015-05-01. Retrieved 2015-09-07. 
  21. ^ Pan, Christoph; Pfeil, Beate S. (2003). "The Peoples of Europe by Demographic Size, Table 1". National Minorities in Europe: Handbook. Wien: Braumueller. p. 11f. ISBN 978-3-7003-1443-1.  (a breakdown by country of these 87 groups is given in Table 5, pp. 17-31.)
  22. ^ a b c "EUROPA - Education and Training - Languages in Europe". 19 June 2006. Archived from the original on 19 June 2006. Retrieved 11 January 2018. 
  23. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, s.v. "Europe : The people".
  24. ^ Torroni A, Achilli A, Macaulay V, Richards M, Bandelt HJ (2006): "Harvesting the fruit of the human mtDNA tree". Trends in Genetics 22: 339–345.
  25. ^ Simoni L, Calafell F, Pettener D, Bertranpetit J, Barbujani G (2000): "Geographic patterns of mtDNA diversity in Europe". American Journal of Human Genetics 66: 262–278.
  26. ^ Chikhi L, Nichols RA, Barbujani G, Beaumont MA (2002): "Y genetic data support the Neolithic demic diffusion model". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 99: 11008–11013.
  27. ^ Roewer L, Croucher PJ, Willuweit S, Lu TT, Kayser M, et al. (2005): "Signature of recent historical events in the European Y-chromosomal STR haplotype distribution". Human Genetics 116: 279–291.
  28. ^ Barbujani G, Goldstein DB (2004): "Africans and Asians abroad: genetic diversity in Europe". Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics 5: 119–150.
  29. ^ "European Y-DNA haplogroups frequencies by country". Eupedia.com. Retrieved 11 January 2018. 
  30. ^ Genetic Structure of Europeans: A View from the North–East, Nelis et al. 2009
  31. ^ "Pair-wise Fst between European samples". Plosone.org. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 

External links