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Top Countries Threatened by Population Decline — Factors and Effects

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By Jessy Sloan - - 5 Mins Read
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Population decline is an old topic that holds serious concern. This is when countries see a decrease in the number of people living there. Sometimes it is primarily due to poor economic conditions and low birth rates. 

Some countries already suffer from population decline and are still expected to have more at the end of certain decades.


Continue reading; this article will provide insights on top countries suffering population decline worldwide. 


  1. Marshall Islands

Before moving to countries expected to experience population decline in the next three decades, we should talk more about those currently on the decline. The Marshall Islands tops the list of countries currently experiencing a massive population decline. As of 2021, the country had about 42,050 people living there, representing around a 20% decline in population. This is quite sad, as a country with a small population like this is mainly expected to be on the increase instead of declining. 


  1. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina is another sparsely populated country also experiencing a huge decline in population. From 2011 to 2021, the country has lost more than 3.2 million people. According to records, in 2021, the country had about 3,270,943 as its population. This represents a negative increase of - 1.39%. In this case, mass emigration is a massive contributor to this. 


  1. Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is not directly under the United States, but it is definitely one of the US territories experiencing a massive population decline. It is one of the negative population growth countries with a minus 1.19% growth in their population. Their population number from 2021 stands at 3,263,584, and the birth rate numbers are also in decline. 


  1. Croatia

Croatia is also among the negative population growth countries, as the country has been steadily experiencing a decline in its population growth rate. Their growth rate is not yet positive, as it is minus 0.88%. As of 2021, they had 3,899,000 people living there, many leaving the country to look for fortune and success abroad. 


  1. Bulgaria

Enough of the current population decline worldwide; let's move to countries projected to have massive population declines. Bulgaria is one of them and is expected to decline by 22.5% from 6.9 million in 2020 to 5.4 million in 2050. 


  1. Lithuania

Lithuania is another country expecting its population to decline massively from 2.7 million to 2.1 million people. That's more than a 21% reduction. Mass migration due to an unstable economy is one of the most significant contributors to this issue. 


  1. Latvia

Between 2020 and 2050, Latvia is expected to be among the countries with population decline worldwide. Their population is expected to decline by about 21.6%. 


  1. Ukraine

The Ukraine war is one of the things that will majorly contribute to the population decline in the war-ridden country. From 2020 to 2050, experts predict the country will have close to 20% population loss. 


Factors Influencing Population Decline


Graph decline of the population on the background of the flag Japan



  • Low Birth Rate 

The rate at which many couples avoid giving birth is quite alarming, and this is one of the biggest contributors to population decline in many countries. For instance, Ukraine currently has a birthrate of 8.62 births among 1,000 people, a more than 2% decline from 2022. 


  • Mass Migration 

Mass migration is one of many countries' biggest causes of population decline. Many people are tired of their country due to poor economic situations and decide to move to better countries. This often results in massive population decline, as in the case of Lithuania. 


  • Natural Disasters 

Sometimes natural disasters like earthquakes, landslides, and wildfires can make many people move to another country. 


  • Security Issues 

Insecurity, such as terror attacks and bombings, can make many leave for another country, leading to a decline in the former country's population. 


  • Other causes are increased ageing populations, lack of proper infant care, high death rate, etc. 


Effects of Population Decline in Countries 


  • Economic Pressure

When a group of workers leaves the country for a better economy, it puts much pressure on the remaining employees. In other words, the dependency ratio of such countries increases. 


  • A Decline in Military Strength

When the young people in a country continue to leave in large numbers, it causes their military strength to decrease drastically. 


  • Poor Economic Conditions 

Assuming the owners of important companies or even small businesses close up in search of a better country, it leads to economic decline. Employees lose their jobs, and the government will no longer get the taxes. Other effects of population decline are loss of culture, decline in innovation, and many others.