Policy-based Population Projections for the European Union: A Complementary Approach


  • Philip Cafaro Colorado State University
  • Patrícia Dérer University of Gothenburg, Sweden




Population projections, European Union, Fertility, Migration, Population policy


We present new population projections out to 2100 for the countries of the European Union and for the EU as a whole under a wide range of fertility and migration scenarios. As policy-based projections rather than forecasts, they aspire not to maximize predictive success regarding future demographic developments, but to accurately show the impact of different migration and socio-economic policy choices on population numbers. Our chief aim is to clarify those policy choices for European citizens and policymakers. We show that demographic policies have the potential to markedly increase or decrease future populations across the EU. Migration policy offers greater scope for influencing future population numbers than policies aimed at influencing national fertility rates. In countries with particularly low fertility rates or high emigration levels, egalitarian economic and family support policies have the potential to limit future population decreases to a significant extent, especially in combination. In most cases, EU nations are well placed to stabilize or slowly reduce their populations by continuing status quo policies or with moderate changes. Thus they are well placed to achieve one of the necessary conditions for creating ecologically sustainable societies.

Author Biographies

Philip Cafaro, Colorado State University

Philip Cafaro is professor of philosophy at Colorado State University and an affiliated faculty member of CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability. His research centers on environmental ethics, population and consumption issues, and the preservation of wild nature.

Patrícia Dérer, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Patrícia Dérer is a researcher with The Overpopulation Project at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. She has an MSc in biology from Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, specializing in plant ecology, conservation, and evolutionary and behavioral biology.



How to Cite

Cafaro, P. and Dérer, P. 2019. Policy-based Population Projections for the European Union: A Complementary Approach. Comparative Population Studies. 44, (Oct. 2019). DOI:https://doi.org/10.12765/CPoS-2019-14.



Research Articles