Romania’s population continues to shrink at alarming pace due to fewer births

Sorin Melenciuc 10/06/2019 | 12:03

Romania’s demographic decline accelerates as the number of births hits decades-low levels and the migration of its inhabitants to richer countries shows no signs of slowing down.

In January-April 2019, Romania’s population fell by 38,493 inhabitants as the number of births declined by almost 16 percent to 54,693 while the number of deaths decreased by only 1.2 percent.

Last year, Romania’s population declined by 73,293 inhabitants, the equivalent of large city like Bistrita, due to demographic factors, as the number of deaths continues to exceed the number of births, National Institute of Statistics (INS) data show.

Compared with 2017, the natural decrease of population accelerated by 33 percent in 2018.

Romania registered 190,170 births and 263,463 deaths in 2018, compared with 205,835 births and 261,745 deaths in 2017.

Large impact on economy

Economists warn this trend is affecting the economic growth, as many of the Romanians fleeing their country are highly educated people.

The economic growth in Romania will slow down below 4 percent in Romania in 2019 and in the next two years,, and one of the major factors is the shrinking working-age population, according to “Global Economic Prospects” report released by the World Bank.

Around 3.5 million Romanians have gone abroad between 2007 and 2015 to escape poverty and widespread corruption in their country, according to a UN International Migration Report.

This number places the country on the second place globally by emigration growth rate between 2007 and 2015, after Syria.

Without the rampant emigration, Romania would have more than 22 million inhabitants, according to official data. By 2050, the government expects the population to plunge to around 16 million inhabitants.

In this scenario, the public pensions scheme will be under large pressure by the severe drop in the number of young people expected to enter the labour market within the next decades, economists say.

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