Baltics Had Highest Population Shrinkage in 2012 ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The Baltic countries took the top three places in a statistical list showing the steepest relative declines in population in the European Union last year.

Estonia was third, as its population decreased by 0.68 percent, according to a fresh report from Eurostat. The country had 10,600 births and 11,600 deaths and a net migratory outflow of 0.57 percent.

Neighbors Latvia and Lithuania, however, had even greater decreases, at 1.06 percent and 1.03 percent. In human terms that means 9,000 fewer people in Estonia, 21,000 in Latvia and 31,700 in Lithuania.

The Baltics were followed by Bulgaria, Greece and Portugal.

In negative migration figures, too, the Baltics were at the top of the list, although here the three were all surpassed by Ireland (-0.76 percent).

Estonia was among 11 EU member states with a shrinking population, while 17 member states saw growth, led by Luxembourg (2.3 percent), Malta (0.91 percet), Sweden (0.77 percent) and the UK (0.62 percent).

On the whole, the European Union had a population of 505.7 million in 2012, down by 1.1 million from the previous year.