Hungary’s death toll reached 150,000 last year, the highest since 1945, meaning the country’s population has fallen by almost 60,000, the biggest drop in 145 years. The death toll from COVID-19 has risen to 40,000 since the start of the pandemic, making Hungary the 4th worst country in the world in terms of deaths per 1 million people from the pandemic.
Online information portal Telex compiled the data available before the official figures were released by the KSH statistics office. Even though 93,000 children were born last year, the highest in a decade, that could not make up for the negative death rates. In 2020, the number of deaths exceeded births by 47,000, so the 2021 figures represent a 17% increase over the previous year.
Hungary’s population has declined by around 350,000 over the past 10 years and by nearly 1.1 million since 1982. If the trend continues or accelerates, the number of inhabitants could drop to 8.5 million. ‘by 2040 and 6 million by 2070.
The government has long advocated a “procreation rather than immigration” approach to dealing with demographic decline and has introduced a series of measures. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has repeatedly stated that family support programs are his government’s responses to migration.
Generous government grants and loans to families have helped push the fertility rate from 1.2% in 2010 to around 1.5% in 2020, but fertility rates remain one of the lowest in Europe.
Death rates are also low due to the poor health of Hungarians. Men’s average life expectancy was 72.5 years in 2020, the fifth lowest in the EU.
According to official data from KSH, the excess death rate from COVID-19 was relatively low in Hungary in 2020. The statistics office estimated the figure at 8,300 as they took the average death rate from previous years as a benchmark. By 2021, the figure is expected to reach around 25,000, according to Telex.
Hungary crossed a sad threshold on Tuesday. According to figures from the government coronavirus task force, 40,000 people have now died from COVID-19. Hungary has long been the leader in vaccination in the EU, as more than 50% of the population, or 5 million, had received two doses by the end of April 2021. Since then, only 1 million people have been vaccinated. Tuesday, some 3.3mn had received the reminder. The vaccination campaign picked up somewhat in November at the height of Wave Four as the government launched a campaign in which vaccines can be taken without pre-registration.
Hungary currently ranks fourth in the worst COVID-19 deaths per million people since the start of the pandemic, according to data aggregator Worldometer, and also has the fourth worst in terms of its seven-day moving average. new daily deaths based on Johns Hopkins University data table.
The fact that the total number of coronavirus deaths in Hungary has exceeded 40,000 proves that the control of the outbreak by the government led by Orban has failed, opposition parties said in a statement.