Countries with Shrinking Populations

Can you name the countries that have lost the most population since their peak?
Source: Worldometers
As of 2020
Quiz by relessness
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Last updated: February 23, 2021
First submittedFebruary 11, 2013
Times taken14,936
Average score65.0%
Rating4.78
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Loss
Peak
Country
7.73 m
1990
Ukraine
4.33 m
1990
Romania
3.86 m
2010
Syria
2.44 m
1993
Russia
2.08 m
2009
Japan
2.03 m
1985
Bulgaria
1.65 m
2015
Venezuela
1.59 m
1841
Ireland
1.42 m
1989
Georgia
1.23 m
1988
Bosnia &
Herzegovina
Loss
Peak
Country
1.15 m
1995
Serbia
1.09 m
1980
Hungary
0.975 m
1991
Lithuania
0.812 m
2004
Greece
0.778 m
1990
Latvia
0.717 m
1998
Poland
0.711 m
1991
Belarus
0.675 m
1989
Croatia
0.574 m
1990
Armenia
0.426 m
2009
Portugal
+16
Level ∞
Feb 23, 2021
This list is going to look a lot different in 10 years, when countries like Japan and South Korea will be posting huge losses. China is also projected to start going negative around 2030.
+8
Level 75
Feb 23, 2021
For some countries no one will ever have real data. For example Croatia. We know situation there because we live next to each other. Some of its parts are almost empty because people live in other parts of EU. They are still Croatian citizens, but who knows will they ever return. You can not find source for it enywhere. Sad fact for them.
+2
Level 76
Mar 9, 2021
If they have been away for three decades, it's very unlikely that they will ever return. And even if a few did, their children would stay wherever they've been born and raised, so in terms of population growth it'd have little effect.
+6
Level 76
Feb 23, 2021
Curious how most nations featured belonged to the Soviet bloc and peaked just before the end of the Cold War. Wonder what the correlation is.
+13
Level 78
Feb 23, 2021
Well, the 1990s were very different in the West and in the East. For the Western Europe and US it was the age of an unseen prosperity and huge technological advancement, while in the Eastern Europe, the fall of Berlin Wall brought insecurity, economic collapse and wars. The gap, which wasn't as obvious in the 1980s, became huge in just a few years. People in the Eastern Europe started: 1) having less children, out of fear for their future, and 2) migrating to Western Europe, since the borders became open and the difference in wages and social (in)security in the East and the West became blatantly obvious. That trend is still very prevalent, so the eastern countries (especially the dictatorships such as Russia, Serbia, Hungary etc.) still see a drastic decline in their population, which is something that is not likely to change in a while.
+4
Level 73
Mar 9, 2021
Also include the declining material conditions in most of the former Eastern Bloc in the 1990s, partially due to austerity- and privatization-driven policies (sometimes called "shock therapy") that involved rising unemployment and declining social services, including healthcare. These sometimes involved rising death rates and stagnant or declining birth rates.
+2
Level 58
Mar 14, 2021
Woah, there, Serbia is not a dictatorship.

Say what you will about the government and, well, that's the point - you can say what you will about the government, meaning it's not a dictatorship.

+1
Level 58
Jul 15, 2021
It's mostly natural decline, migration doesn't play a big part in the countries you mentioned. All European countries have more or less similar fertility rates and not one is above replacement levels (Serbia and Hungary are above the EU average in terms of both birth and fertility rates, Russia has lower fertility but higher birth rates), the difference being western Europe has large immigration that somewhat sustains birth rates and raises population overall

Russia and Hungary have positive net migration. They're only losing people due to natural decline. Serbia has high emigration rates, but considerably lower than other Balkan states and is losing more people due to natural decline than emigration

+1
Level 78
Sep 30, 2021
@Jymy: I live in Serbia. It is a dictatorship, by all means.
+1
Level 48
Dec 12, 2021
After fall of Soviet block live in Communist countries was very bad. People in Russia said, they barely making ends meet. Russia was poor, hungry country.
+9
Level 76
Feb 23, 2021
Many developed countries are not replacing their population through new births, it is largely due to immigration that they sustain overall population growth. Japan and many Eastern European countries would appear to be on this list because they have both low birth rates and low immigration rates.
+1
Level 58
Jul 15, 2021
It's pretty much all of them

The only European nations that still have positive natural growth are the Irish, Albanians and Icelanders

+3
Level 70
Feb 24, 2021
South Korea shrunk in population in 2020 by 20 thousand people

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/04/south-korea-population-falls-for-first-time-in-history

+14
Level 71
Feb 24, 2021
Wait, why did Portugal lose half a million since 2009? It isn't because I visited, is it?
+8
Level 67
Feb 24, 2021
Bad economic situation. Probably a lot of young people moving to other European nations (or USA etc.) to find work
+2
Level 72
Feb 24, 2021
Brain drain
+34
Level ∞
Feb 24, 2021
Portugal's extremely low fertility rate is the main culprit. But also because @cheeso visited.
+2
Level 73
Feb 25, 2021
💖💖💖
+2
Level 41
Feb 26, 2021
wtf?
+1
Level 34
Mar 9, 2021
Half the country moved to the UK
+1
Level 65
Oct 11, 2021
Low fertility and young people move to France and United Kingdom for better work opportunities. Portugal's population is held up by Brazilian and Angolan immigration. Without that, it would plummet even faster.
+4
Level 53
Feb 24, 2021
I thought Sudan would've lost several million citizens when South Sudan was formed
+4
Level 76
Feb 24, 2021
It probably doesn't count countries that have lost population due to territorial changes. But then I'm not sure how the ex-Soviet countries are calculated.
+7
Level 72
Feb 24, 2021
Each Soviet (Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, etc.) was still had separate population statistics like US states do.
+2
Level 71
Feb 24, 2021
I missed some of the obvious and got the one most people are missing. Go figure.
+1
Level 41
Feb 26, 2021
I cant believe I just got venezuela!! >:(
+1
Level 46
Jun 16, 2021
No worries. The less you get, the more you learn. So that's actually a good thing haha.
+3
Level 81
Mar 9, 2021
Wow Ireland - 180 years later, and population is still so far from recovering.
+5
Level 73
Mar 9, 2021
Population of island of Ireland now stands at 6.7 million (4.9 in the Republic of Ireland and 1.8 in Northern Ireland). In 1841 the total population was around 8 million. Getting there!
+1
Level 70
Mar 9, 2021
You don't reckon some other countries have dipped historically? Like Greece could've had a higher population in ancient/medieval times?
+3
Level 52
Mar 9, 2021
Very doubtful. World population has boomed only recently.
+1
Level 73
May 3, 2021
Estonia also has a population less than its peak, although I guess this quiz doesn't want every country that that circumstance applies to, only the top 20.
+1
Level 58
Jun 10, 2021
Collapse of the USSR really did a number on em
+2
Level 69
Oct 31, 2021
It's mind-blowing to find out there's a country on Earth that had its population peak as early as 1841.
+1
Level 75
Mar 9, 2022
Mainly to do with a potato famine and policies of the ruling British Empire at the time.
+1
Level 61
Aug 1, 2022
Ukraine was already number one on the list before the war. Can't imagine what the figures look like now.