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An Incredibly Detailed Map of Europe's Population Shifts

Since the turn of the millennium, Europe has been undergoing some pretty intense demographic change. Just how intense—and intricate—this change has been is revealed in a new map created by Germany’s BBSR, the country’s Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development.

The BBSR collected data between 2001 and 2011. While that might sound slightly outdated, these are actually the most up-to-date figures Europe has to offer, as 2011 is the most recent year for which comprehensive population data is available for the whole of Europe. According to its makers, the map provides a level of detail previously unavailable, as it is the first ever to collect data published by all of Europe’s municipalities. The results are impressively comprehensive and reveal a few surprises.

The map works as follows. Dark blue patches show an average annual population fall of 2 percent or more, the medium blue patches a fall of between 1 and 2 percent, and the lightest blue patches a fall of up to 1 percent. Areas in beige have experienced no statistically significant change, while the red areas show population growth. Municipalities in deep red have experienced an average annual population rise of 2 percent or more, the medium red of between 1 and 2 percent, and the pale pink areas of up to 1 percent. The different sizes of each colored shape, meanwhile, show the radically different sizes of municipal units across the continent—large in the Baltic States, Turkey, and Northern Scandinavia, but far smaller in Ireland, Greece, and the Czech Republic.

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