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Hungary’s Population Decline in 2021 Highest since WWII

Péter Cseresnyés 2022.01.31.

Approximately 155,000 people died in Hungary in 2021, more than in any year since World War II, revealed the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH) in its full-year demographic figures for last year published on Friday.

This is an increase of almost 10 percent compared to 2020, and 20 percent more than in 2019, the last year before the coronavirus pandemic. Regarding mortality, March and April proved to be the worst months in 2020, with one and a half times as many people dying in this period than during the same time in 2020. According to KSH, the last time Hungary’s death toll was nearing last year’s record was in 1993, when 150,244 people died in Hungary.

COVID-19 Calendar: How did the 2021 pandemic evolve in Hungary?
COVID-19 Calendar: How did the 2021 pandemic evolve in Hungary?

Despite the strength of Covid waves, the government opted for rather loose rules on disease control during this year's epidemic response. Here is a brief overview of 2021, focusing on the Covid pandemic.Continue reading

As the number of deaths rose more significantly than that of births, the natural decrease in Hungary’s population was 62,000 as opposed to 48,664 in 2020, which is a rise of 27%. Both the number of deaths and the natural decrease are at levels not seen since World War II.

The newly released statistics confirmed experts’ estimates that had already predicted record-high death and declining population figures at the end of last year, weeks before the final figures were released.

Hungary's 2021 Population Decline Estimated to Be Highest since WWII
Hungary's 2021 Population Decline Estimated to Be Highest since WWII

Also, this is the largest peacetime decline since reliable data recording began in 1876.Continue reading

Although it is quite obvious that the coronavirus was responsible for a large part of the deaths in Hungary, the figures just released do not clearly reveal exactly how many people have died from Covid-19. According to the government’s official coronavirus information website koronavirus.gov.hu, 29,500 deaths could be contributed to the virus infection in 2021.

However, the official number of Covid-related deaths and the excess deaths indicated in the KSH data are inconsistent, leftist daily Népszava points out. Even experts do not know the reason behind this, partly because the government has not been providing detailed enough data regarding the victims of the pandemic, the paper adds.

Slightly more children born

In 2021, the desire to have children has improved slightly, however, this is barely reflected in the number of births mainly because the childbearing age group has shrunk further. According to demographic data, 93,000 babies were born last year, 662 more than the year before.  This represents an improvement in the total fertility rate from 1.56 in 2020 to 1.59.

According to KSH estimates, in total there were 9,689,000 people living in Hungary at the end of last year.

Featured photo illustration by Balázs Mohai/MTI 


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