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Greece losing people as economy struggles, data show

[BRUSSELS] Greece lost nearly one percent of its population last year, or over 90,000 people, bucking a European trend as those leaving its struggling economy outnumbered incoming migrants, an EU report showed on Friday.

Deaths exceeded births for the fourth year in a row as a debt crisis that has shrunk economic output by a quarter and caused unemployment to soar dragged on.

The data from statistics agency Eurostat showed that only neighbouring Cyprus suffered a greater population decline in 2014 while the number of people living in the 28-nation European Union as a whole grew by over a million to 508.2 million.

The Greek population dropped to 10.8 million on Jan. 1 from 10.9 million a year previously, Eurostat said, reflecting a net loss of 91,237 people over 12 months.

The agency said that, despite large numbers of African and Middle Eastern migrants landing in Greece in search of refuge and jobs, most of the decline was due to emigration. But births also dropped and were exceeded by the number of deaths.

About 92,000 children were born in Greece last year, the lowest annual figure in the past decade for which Eurostat gave data. Deaths significantly exceeded births, leaving Greece with a negative natural change of more than 20,000 people. In the EU as a whole, births significantly outpaced deaths.


Read more on the Greek crisis here

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