The European Union
The European Union is a collection of 28 member states located in Europe. This unified body eliminates border control allowing for the flow of people and goods. Member states also receive technologies and are represented by the EU within judicial and legislative institutions. In return, member states are subject to binding laws as a condition of their membership, and must adopt laws implemented by the EU in areas including foreign policy and defense. The total population of the EU is 512,596,403, according to the most recent estimates taken in 2018.
As mentioned, 28 states are a part of the European Union. These states are (in alphabetical order): Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. However, it is important to note that the United Kingdom will be exiting the EU in 2019.
The predecessor of the EU was formed in 1957. This was known as the European Economic Community. The founding members included France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and West Germany. This organization became known as the EU in 1958. Throughout the years, it has grown with more members, with the most recent, Croatia, joining in 2013. Common policies on trade, agriculture and development are shared by the member states.
The largest member state of the EU by area is France, which is also the second largest by population. The largest by population is Germany, which is estimated to have 82,437,641 residents. All but three of the member states have populations that exceed one million residents. Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta are the three least-populated member states, with Malta’s population falling just under 500,000 people. Malta is also the smallest member state by area.
The most populated city in the EU is London, UK, which has a population of over 12 million. Paris, France only falls slightly behind with a population rapidly approaching 12 million. The third most populous city is Madrid, which has over 6.6 million residents.
When breaking down the population of the EU as a whole, just 9.4% of residents were born outside of their resident country. There are 24 official languages spoken throughout the EU, with 51% of residents speaking English. Other languages include German, French, Italian, Spanish and Poland, just to name a few. There are also over 150 regional and minority languages spoken by about 50 million residents. There is no official religion observed in the EU. Most residents are Christian, with over 71% following this religion. Of this number over 45% are Catholic, while other Christian religions include Protestant and Eastern Orthodox. Other religions observed in the UK include Muslim and other faiths, although these are minority religions.
The European Union has seen slight growth in recent years. The birth rate is about 10 per 1,000 people, which falls below the world average. According to estimates from 2016, the population rose just 0.23%. Slow growth is expected in the near future, but the population will decrease significantly when the UK withdraws from the EU in 2019.