In its 2018 Demographic Portrait study, the Hungarian Central Statistical Office warns that Hungary’s population could fall to 6 million by 2070, citing that the demographic decline exceeded 400 thousand people between 2001 and 2017.
The study shows that Hungary’s population declined by almost 200 thousand between the 2001 and 2011 censuses. However, according to the statistics, the demographic decline exceeded 400 thousand people by 2017.
Demographic decline—Europe and Hungary’s primary challenge—is mainly caused by natural processes, but a large amount of Hungarians are also leaving the country. As we previously reported, more than eight percent of Hungarian graduates are working and living abroad.
Will Hungary’s Population Be Halved by 2100? Demography Expert Pál Demény Discusses Europe’s Low Birth Rate, Challenges Facing Hungary, and How to Maintain a Stable Population
According to predictions, the population will continue to decline in the future. In the best scenario, the population will stabilize at around 9 million people, but a more realistic number is closer to 7,75 million. In the worst case scenario, this number could drop as low as 6 million people by 2070. The demographic decline has resulted in several social and economic problems in Hungary, primarily in the healthcare system. In addition, the current pension system will no longer be sustainable if the population continues to decrease.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán declared 2018 the year of families and there are further measures in the pipeline dedicated to encouraging people to have more children. Orbán says Hungary is committed to solving demographic problems by strengthening families and pro-birth policies instead of promoting and organizing migration. The government has recently launched a new national consultation on family subsidies to better understand the needs of Hungarian families.
Hungarian Government Launches New National Consultation on Family Subsidies
Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás stated that Hungary spends five percent of its GDP on family support schemes — the highest proportion in Europe— which has resulted in the fertility rate rising from 1.23 to 1.5.
While the desire to have children appears to have grown and birth rates have improved in Hungary, the total fertility rate, the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime, is still only at 1,5 instead of the needed 2,1. This is the result of a decline in the number of women who are of childbearing age. While women had their first child at the average age of 28,3 in 2011, this number grew to 28,6 by 2017. For men, these numbers were 33,7 in 2011 and increased to 34,4 by last year. At the same time, every tenth Hungarian child is born abroad.