Population change of Europe’s major metro areas

Which European cities have seen the biggest growth in the past 5 years?


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Map showing the 5 year growth of European metropolitan areas.

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This map shows some very interesting data. We can see here which cities are growing and which cities are shrinking. The population change can be the result of varying factors. Most likely a low or high birth rate or a high number of people moving in or out of the city.

Overall, we see that most European cities have seen their population grow over the past 5 years. Especially the largest cities and capital cities. We do however see a strong geographical pattern on this map. Most of the cities with a decrease in population, are located in south and eastern Europe. Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal all have a significant number of cities with a 5-year decrease in population. Especially Italy has a very large share of metro areas with a decreasing population. Especially in Southern Italy, where al major cities have seen a population decrease larger than 2.5%. Although Northern Italy is doing better than the south, it still has a large number of cities with a decrease in population.

The city with the largest decrease in population in all of Europe is Messina (-4.9%) on Sicily in Italy. The next two cities are both in Romania, Ploiesti (-4.7%) and Galati (-4.6%).

The strongest increases can be found further up north. The vast majority of the major cities in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland have seen an increase in its population. The biggest increase can actually be found in southern Europe. Valletta, the capital of Malta, saw a whopping 17.7% increase in its population. The 2nd and 3rd fastest growing cities are both in Sweden, Uppsala (10%) and Stockholm (8.1%).

Keep in mind that this map says nothing about increase/decrease of the nationwide population size. While major cities might be growing, smaller cities and the rural population might be shrinking. Which can even cause the total national population to drop. On the national level, no country reported a decrease in population size over the period from 2015 to 2020. The smallest growth was recorded in Lithuania (0.957%). The largest growth was recorded in Malta (1.170%).

Here’s a full list of all the cities on the map and their 5-year population change:

Austria

Vienna (+5.6%)
Graz (+4.6%)
Innsbruck (+4.5%)
Salzburg (+4.4%)

Belgium

Bruxelles/Brussel (+3.5%)
Ghent (+3.3%)
Antwerp (+2.9%)
Liège (+1.4%)
Charleroi (+0.4%)

Bulgaria

Sofia (-0.4%)
Varna (-0.8%)
Burgas (-1.2%)
Plovdiv (-1.3%)

Croatia

Zagreb (-0.3%)
Split (-1.3%)

Czech Republic

Praha (+5.2%)
Plzen (+2.6%)
Brno (+1.6%)
Ostrava (-1.4%)

Denmark

Århus (+4.7%)
København (+4.4%)
Odense (+2%)
Aalborg (+1.3%)

Estonia

Tallinn (+6.5%)

Finland

Helsinki (+5.4%)
Tampere (+2.8%)
Turku (+1.4%)

France

Montpellier (+5.7%)
Nantes (+5.7%)
Bordeaux (+5.7%)
Toulouse (+5.6%)
Rennes (+4.1%)
Lyon (+3.3%)
Clermont-Ferrand (+2.9%)
Strasbourg (+2.4%)
Pau (+2.3%)
Marseille (+1.9%)
Paris (+1.7%)
Perpignan (+1.7%)
Nimes (+1.5%)
Grenoble (+1.5%)
Orléans (+1.3%)
Besançon (+1.1%)
Angers (+1%)
Saint-Etienne (+0.8%)
Poitiers (+0.8%)
Tours (+0.6%)
Brest (+0.6%)
Nice (+0.5%)
Mulhouse (+0.3%)
Caen (0%)
Dijon (-0.1%)
Lille-Dunkerque-Valenciennes (-0.1%)
Rouen (-0.4%)
Nancy (-0.4%)
Amiens (-0.5%)
Le Mans (-0.9%)
Limoges (-1.2%)
Reims (-1.5%)

Germany

Berlin (+5.5%)
Regensburg (+5.4%)
Leipzig (+5%)
Heilbronn (+4.9%)
Augsburg (+4.8%)
Ingolstadt (+4.8%)
Frankfurt am Main (+4.7%)
Mainz (+4.5%)
Ulm (+4.5%)
Munich (+4.4%)
Hamburg (+4.4%)
Linz (+4.3%)
Oldenburg (+4.2%)
Freiburg im Breisgau (+4.2%)
Gießen (+4.2%)
Darmstadt (+4.1%)
Pforzheim (+4%)
Flensburg (+3.9%)
Rosenheim (+3.9%)
Konstanz (+3.8%)
Stuttgart (+3.7%)
Offenburg (+3.7%)
Nürnberg (+3.6%)
Karlsruhe (+3.5%)
Münster (+3.4%)
Bonn (+3.4%)
Reutlingen (+3.2%)
Köln (+3%)
Osnabrück (+3%)
Heidelberg (+3%)
Paderborn (+2.9%)
Mannheim-Ludwigshafen (+2.9%)
Wuppertal (+2.8%)
Bremen (+2.6%)
Kassel (+2.5%)
Hannover (+2.4%)
Düsseldorf (+2.3%)
Rostock (+2.1%)
Düren (+2.1%)
Koblenz (+2.1%)
Würzburg (+1.9%)
Wiesbaden (+1.8%)
Kiel (+1.7%)
Aachen (+1.7%)
Bocholt (+1.7%)
Mönchengladbach (+1.6%)
Braunschweig-Salzgitter-Wolfsburg (+1.6%)
Bremerhaven (+1.6%)
Schweinfurt (+1.4%)
Aschaffenburg (+1.4%)
Kaiserslautern (+1.3%)
Bielefeld (+1.3%)
Ruhrgebiet (+1.1%)
Lübeck (+1%)
Schwerin (+0.9%)
Halle an der Saale (+0.9%)
Dresden (+0.8%)
Wetzlar (+0.7%)
Erfurt (+0.7%)
Bayreuth (+0.5%)
Hildesheim (+0.5%)
Siegen (+0.4%)
Magdeburg (+0.3%)
Göttingen (+0.1%)
Saarbrücken (-0.1%)
Iserlohn (-0.9%)
Neubrandenburg (-1.4%)
Görlitz (-2.9%)
Zwickau (-3.1%)

Greece

Thessaloniki (-1.2%)
Athens (-2.5%)

Hungary

Budapest (+2.1%)
Székesfehérvár (+0.2%)
Debrecen (-2%)
Pécs (-3.2%)
Miskolc (-4.6%)

Ireland

Dublin (+7.8%)
Cork (+5%)

Italy

Parma (+2.1%)
Bologna (+1.7%)
Milan (+1.7%)
Prato (+1.6%)
Verona (+0.1%)
Bergamo (-0.1%)
Padova (-0.5%)
Reggio nell’Emilia (-0.7%)
Brescia (-0.8%)
Venice (-1.1%)
Florence (-1.6%)
Rome (-2%)
Cagliari (-2.3%)
Turin (-2.7%)
Naples (-2.7%)
Bari (-2.9%)
Catania (-4%)
Taranto (-4.1%)
Genova (-4.2%)
Palermo (-4.2%)
Messina (-4.9%)

Latvia

Riga (-0.7%)

Lithuania

Vilnius (+1.6%)
Kaunas (-3.5%)

Malta

Valletta (+17.7%)

Netherlands

The Hague (+5.2%)
Utrecht (+4.4%)
Amsterdam (+4.4%)
Eindhoven (+3.7%)
Leiden (+3.7%)
Zwolle (+3.6%)
Tilburg (+3.5%)
Rotterdam (+3.2%)
Arnhem-Nijmegen (+2.8%)
Breda (+1.9%)
Groningen (+0.8%)
Enschede (+0.8%)
Leeuwarden (+0.6%)

Norway

Oslo (+7.6%)
Bergen (+3.1%)

Poland

Warsaw (+4.1%)
Gdansk (+3.6%)
Poznan (+3.2%)
Kraków (+3.1%)
Rzeszów (+2.6%)
Wroclaw (+2.1%)
Bialystok (+0.7%)
Bydgoszcz-Torún (+0.7%)
Bielsko-Biala (+0.5%)
Lublin (+0.4%)
Tarnów (-0.3%)
Olsztyn (-1%)
Szczecin (-1%)
Opole (-1.1%)
Katowice (-1.8%)
Radom (-1.8%)
Lódz (-1.9%)
Kielce (-2%)
Czestochowa (-2.1%)

Portugal

Lisboa (+1.9%)
Porto (-0.2%)

Romania

Bucharest (+1.7%)
Timisoara (+1.5%)
Cluj-Napoca (+1.3%)
Iasi (+0.8%)
Brasov (+0.5%)
Constanta (-1.6%)
Craiova (-3.9%)
Galati (-4.6%)
Ploiesti (-4.7%)

Slovakia

Bratislava (+7.1%)
Kosice (+0.7%)

Slovenia

Ljubljana (+3.9%)
Maribor (+0.8%)

Spain

Palma de Mallorca (+7.5%)
Santa Cruz de Tenerife (+6.8%)
Madrid (+5.7%)
Barcelona (+3.7%)
Málaga-Marbella (+3.2%)
Pamplona/Iruña (+3.2%)
Vitoria/Gasteiz (+2.9%)
Murcia-Cartagena (+2.8%)
Alicante/Alacant-Elche/Elx (+2.4%)
Las Palmas (+1.8%)
Valencia (+1.8%)
Guipúzcoa (+1.3%)
Zaragoza (+1%)
Sevilla (+0.9%)
Granada (+0.7%)
Cádiz (+0.5%)
Bilbao (+0.5%)
Vigo (-0.5%)
A Coruña (-0.5%)
Santander (-0.5%)
Valladolid (-1.3%)
Córdoba (-1.4%)
Coimbra (-2.3%)
Oviedo-Gijón (-3%)

Sweden

Uppsala (+10%)
Stockholm (+8.1%)
Malmö (+6.9%)
Göteborg (+5.8%)

Switzerland

Zürich (+6.4%)
Lausanne (+5.7%)
Geneva (+5.6%)
Annecy (FR) / Genève (CH) (+4.8%)
Bern (+3%)
Basel (+2.7%)

United Kingdom

Coventry (+6.2%)
Nottingham (+6%)
Edinburgh (+5.6%)
Bristol (+5.4%)
Northampton (+5.3%)
London (+5.2%)
Colchester (+5.1%)
Leicester (+4.7%)
Brighton and Hove (+4.6%)
Exeter (+4.4%)
Sheffield (+3.9%)
West Midlands urban area (+3.9%)
Southampton (+3.8%)
Cambridge (+3.4%)
Manchester (+3.3%)
Medway (+3.3%)
Portsmouth (+3.2%)
Norwich (+3.2%)
Oxford (+3.1%)
Bournemouth (+3.1%)
Leeds (+3%)
Ipswich (+2.9%)
Derby (+2.8%)
Liverpool (+2.6%)
Doncaster (+2.6%)
Kirklees (+2.5%)
Belfast (+2.4%)
Glasgow (+2.3%)
Swansea (+2.1%)
Cardiff (+2%)
Cheshire West and Chester (+2%)
Newcastle upon Tyne (+2%)
Bradford (+1.9%)
Stoke-on-Trent (+1.9%)
Plymouth (+1.8%)
Aberdeen (+1.7%)
Middlesbrough (+1.3%)
Kingston upon Hull (+1.1%)
Blackburn-Blackpool-Preston (+0.9%)
Sunderland (+0.5%)

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