Recent Demographic Trends in the Developed Countries

The Demographic Situation of Europe and the Developed Countries Overseas: An Annual Report
By Jean-Paul Sardon, Glenn Robertson


The approximate stability of Continental Europe as a whole is due solely to the growth of population in western Europe, mainly from immigration. In central and eastern Europe, and in Russia, natural increase is negative, and only Russia experiences positive net migration. The growth rate of the European Union’s population is 2.4 times less than the United States, and its natural increase 6 times less.
The total fertility rate of the Union has been rising slightly since 1998 and amounts to 1.50 children per woman in 2000, i.e., 0.6 children fewer than the United States. It is rising in almost all western European countries, ranging from 1.23 children per woman in Italy to 2.08 in Iceland. The lowest fertility is encountered in central and eastern Europe: from 1.11 children per woman in Armenia to 1.21 in Russia, with the Czech Republic (1.14) and probably Ukraine falling in between. The slight rise observed in 2000 does not reflect a broadly shared desire to bear a child for the millennium and does not call into question the near-general decrease in lifetime fertility of the cohorts born since the late 1950s.
Marriage rates are rising in most western European countries, but have generally declined in central and eastern Europe to levels that are below those of western Europe.
Average life expectancy is still making progress in western Europe, with slightly higher gains for men. Net gains have also been recorded in all eastern European countries except Moldova and especially Russia, where male life expectancy lost another year in 2000.

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