Migration into the countries of the European Union boosted its total population in 2023 even as births there continued to be outweighed by deaths, EU data released on Thursday showed.

After declines in 2020 and 2021 that were linked to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 27-country EU saw its population rise for the second consecutive year from 447.6 million to 449.2 million people over the course of last year.

Net inward migration notably included the arrival of displaced people from Ukraine fleeing the war with Russia, EU statistics arm Eurostat said in a news release.

Europe's flagging birth rate has meant the so-called "natural" component of the population count - births minus deaths - has been negative or stagnant since 2012.

That, combined with an ageing demographic, has led to concerns about labour shortages and the future funding of national welfare states.

(Writing and reporting by Mark John; Editing by Andrew Heavems)