When Croatia played France in the 2018 World Cup Final, it was an all-European final yet again. A Croatia of 4 million people went against football legend France of 65 million and ultimately lost.

However, when asked to name some things about Croatia, many Europeans are probably not very confident. Yes, it was a major filming location for the American series Game of Thrones. It’s also where Dalmatian dogs are said to have started out as a breed and the birthplace of Nikola Tesla.

We tend to think of Croatia as a small country and France as a large country. And in the European context, that’s true. But outside our cozy neighbourhood, population sizes tend to be a bit different.

To act as a handy resource and a guide¹, you can find the populations of European countries in the close of the second decade of the 21st century here:

The big (for Europe)

  1. Germany – 82 million
  2. France – 67 million
  3. United Kingdom – 66 million
  4. Italy – 60 million
  5. Spain – 46 million
  6. Ukraine – 43 million
  7. Poland – 38 million

The reasonably-sized

  1. Romania – 19 million
  2. Netherlands – 17 million
  3. Belgium – 11 million
  4. Greece – 11 million
  5. Czech Republic – 10.5 million
  6. Portugal – 10 million
  7. Sweden – 10 million
  8. Hungary – 10 million
  9. Belarus – 9.5 million
  10. Austria – 9 million
  11. Switzerland – 8.5 million
  12. Bulgaria – 7 million
  13. Serbia – 7 million
  14. Denmark – 6 million
  15. Finland – 5.5 million
  16. Slovakia – 5.5 million
  17. Norway – 5.3 million

The small

  1. Ireland – 4.9 million
  2. Croatia – 4.2 million
  3. Bosnia and Herzegovina – 3.7 million
  4. Moldova – 3.6 million
  5. Albania – 2.9 million
  6. Lithuania – 2.8 million
  7. Macedonia – 2.1 million

The name of this small nation, with a population comparable to the 52nd largest Chinese city, is under dispute.

  1. Slovenia – 2 million
  2. Latvia – 2 million
  3. Kosovo – 1.9 million

The tiny

  1. Estonia – 1.3 million
  2. Cyprus – 1 million
  3. Montenegro – 0.6 million
  4. Luxembourg – 0.6 million
  5. Malta – 0.5 million
  6. Iceland – 0.35 million
  7. Andorra – 0.078 million
  8. Liechtenstein – 0.037 million
  9. Monaco – 0.037 million
  10. San Marino – 0.033 million
  11. Vatican City – 0.001 million

Countries in italics not yet part of the European Union/no longer part of the European Union

Remember that even if some countries’ population seems large in the European context, globally almost all European countries are tiny.

China has 1300 million, India has 1200 million. However, those countries have already gained a lot of media attention for their populations. A lot of other countries around the world have experienced a wave of population growth, with the result that Egypt now has more people than Germany, and Finland has the same population as the US state of Minnesota. This has received less attention, understandably.

It is instructive to look at population sizes as they are important for understanding the potential economic weight of a country. Although taken alone, without population pyramids and current birth rates and death rates, they do not mean much. Consider it a snapshot. It shows where we have been, but not necessarily where we are going.

Photo credit: Nicolas Mavreas

¹ Figures have been taken from official websites. They have been rounded up for ease of use.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.