Migrants right birth deficit

Although deaths outnumbered births in Greece last year, the population increased by a marginal 0.26 percent due to immigration, according to European Union data made public yesterday. The European Commission statistics released in Brussels show that on January 1 Greece’s population stood at some 11,047,000 people – about 29,000 more than at the beginning of 2003. The rate of population growth is the second-lowest in the European Union, after Germany. In 2003, there were only 9.3 births for every 1,000 Greeks, while the death rate was 9.4 per 1,000, resulting in a 0.01 percent population decline. But an influx of immigrants (2.7 per thousand) resulted in a small increase. Ireland topped the EU natural population growth charts, with an increase of 8.3 per thousand which, together with immigration, led to a total increase of 1.53 percent. Cyprus’s births outstripped deaths by 3.3 per thousand. Boosted by an immigration rate of 14.1 per thousand, the country’s population grew by a total of 1.74 percent.