Malta’s population is expected to fall by 26,000 by 2060 to well below the 400,000 mark, according to EU projections.

Eurostat, the EU’s statistics arm, estimates that the island will have 387,000 inhabitants in 50 years’ time, from the current 413,000.

At the same time, there will be many more older people. The number of those aged over 80 now amount to 3.3 per cent of the population but by 2060 the proportion will have risen to 11 per cent. In the age group of those over 65, the growth will be even higher, from 15 per cent to 31 per cent.

The European Union’s population is expected to grow to 517 million in 2060 from the current 501 million.

However, the projections show stark differences among member states. The strongest population growth is expected in Ireland (+46 per cent), Luxembourg (+45 per cent), Cyprus (+41 per cent), the UK (+27 per cent), Belgium (+24 per cent) and Sweden (+23 per cent), and the sharpest declines in Bulgaria (-27 per cent), Latvia (-26 per cent), Lithuania (-20 per cent), Romania and Germany (both -19 per cent).

In 2060, the member states with the largest populations in the EU will be the UK (79 million), France (74 mn), Germany (66 mn), Italy (65 mn) and Spain (52 mn).

At the moment, Germany has the largest population at 81 million.

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