As of 1 January 2021, young people (aged 15–29 years) made up some 16.3% of the European Union’s total population, according to data released by Eurostat, the statistical service of the EU. Cyprus, considered a region because of its population size, is among the regions in which young people accounted for at least one fifth of the total population.
Among NUTS level 3 regions, young people accounted for more than one quarter of the total population in the Danish capital region of Byen København (26.7%), as well as in the student cities of Overig Groningen in the Netherlands (25.4%) and Heidelberg, Stadtkreis in Germany (25.1%).
In 46 NUTS 3 regions across the European Union, young people accounted for at least one fifth of the total population. One of these regions was Cyprus, which is considered one region by Eurostat due to population size.
These regions were predominantly urban and many university cities and were concentrated across a small number of EU Member States: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Looking into the future and based on Eurostat’s population projections (EUROPOP2019), youths will account for 14.9% of the EU population by 2050, a share 1.4 percentage points lower than their share on 1 January 2021, showing some signs of the progressive ageing of the EU population.
According to these projections, the share of youths was projected to remain constant or continue growing in the 16 NUTS 3 regions which had a relatively high share of young persons in 2021. These regions are almost exclusively located in Germany (14 regions), except for Bezirk Verviers — Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft in Belgium, and one of the French overseas departments, Mayotte.
Looking in more detail at the projected developments for the youth population, the 10 NUTS 3 regions with the biggest absolute increases – as measured by the projected percentage point change in the share of youths between 2021 and 2050 – will all be located in Germany.
At the other end of the range, the 10 regions with the biggest projected falls in their share of youth populations were more widely distributed. Half of them (five regions) were located in Germany, while the other five included two regions from eastern Poland – Chełmsko-zamojski and Przemyski – the capital regions of Dytiki Attiki in Greece and Paris in France, as well as Tâmega e Sousa in Portugal.
The largest relative increases in youth populations across EU regions – as measured by the projected change in the share of youths between 2021 and 2050 in percentage terms – will also be in Germany; there were 24 NUTS 3 regions across Germany where the increase in the share of youths is projected to be higher than 30.0%.
At the other end of the range, there were three regions where the share of youths is projected to fall by more than 30.0%: Chełmsko-zamojski (-31.7%), Paris (-32.1%) and Noord- Drenthe in the Netherlands (-35.2%).