Only 1.5 million people will live in Lithuania at the end of the 21st century, or around 45 percent down from now, the United National forecast.
In a report published earlier this week, the UN estimates that Lithuania will have a population of under 2.5 million in ten years, and it will shrink to under 2 million by 2060.
Lithuanian experts say the estimate is based on pessimistic assumptions and the real numbers might be considerably higher, but the country has to prepare for the ageing and shrinking of the population in any case.
“The forecast for the Lithuanian population is based on rather pessimistic assumptions regarding migration, since they are informed by very unfavorable past tendencies,” Laurė Galdikienė, a chief economist at the Bank of Lithuania, told BNS.
In her words, if the improving migration trends and the already recorded positive migration balance continue in the country, the Lithuanian population might exceed 2 million in 2100.
“Population forecasts are characterizes by a fairly high level of uncertainty, and they might change drastically, depending on the number of deaths, births and migration,” Galdikienė said.
In her words, based on the best and worst UN scenarios for Lithuania for 2100, the forecast population numbers differ by more than 700,000.
“Nevertheless, this uncertainty over the accuracy of the estimate does not mean that Lithuania should not prepare for further shrinking of the population and its ageing, which will be hard to avoid,” the economist said.
There were 2,794,000 people in Lithuania early this year, figures from Lithuania's statistics office, Statistics Lithuania, show.
The United Nations forecasts that 10.9 billion people will live in the world in 2100.