Which Countries’ Populations Grew in 2022, and Which Populations Shrank?

Countries with the Highest Population Growth Rate in 2022

What are the countries with the highest population growth rate in 2022? In 2022, the 10 countries with the highest rates of population growth were:

1. Moldova, 13.7%
2. Poland, 8.1%
3. Slovakia, 7.2%
4. Hungary, 5.6%
5. Syria, 4.8%
6. Romania, 4.0%
7. Niger, 3.7%
8. Democratic Republic of the Congo, 3.2%
9. Chad, 3.1%
10. Mali, 3.1%

It’s important to note that, in 2022, this list of 10 countries with the fastest population growth looks very different from previous years. For most of recent history, five of the 10 countries – Moldova, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania – had a growth rate of less than 1%, and in many cases a negative growth rate. However, in 2022, these countries became destinations for people fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Here is a chart that shows the population growth rate for these five high-growth countries one year ago (2021) and five years ago (2017).

Chart comparing countries' growth rates in 2022, 2021, and 2017.

Worldwide Population Decline – Countries with a Declining Population in 2022

What countries had a declining population in 2022? There were 41 countries and territories that had a negative population growth rate, which means their population was shrinking. The 10 countries (or territories) with the largest rate of negative population change in 2022 were:

1. Ukraine, -18.4%
2. Lebanon, -2.3%
3. Bulgaria, -1.5%
4. Lithuania, -1.4%
5. Latvia, -1.1%
6. Serbia, -1.1%
7. Saint Helena, -1.0%
8. American Samoa, -0.8%
9. Bosnia and Herzegovina, -0.8%
10. U.S. Virgin Islands, -0.8%

This list of countries decreasing in population size also looks different than previous years as a result of the war in Ukraine. Notably, Ukraine is at the top of the list, having seen the largest population decline in 2022 as people fled the country. While Ukraine has experienced negative population growth in recent years, the rate had been in the range of -0.3 to -0.4%, far less than the -18.4% growth rate it saw in 2022.


Image credits: Immigration line (Immigration by Icars is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)