How Do You Maximize Population Growth? (Victoria 2)

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There are a few things that can help grow your population in Victoria 2:

  • High Life Rating
  • Technology
  • Policies (Health Care)
  • Events and Decisions
  • Immigration into your country
  • Conquering land

Most of these are situational. But waiting for a random event to fire is not a reliable way to grow your population, and neither is endless conquest.

So it’s also important to prevent population loss.

And there are a few things to avoid here, since these can all cost you population:

  • Revolts
  • Immigration out of your country
  • Famine
  • Diseases
  • War
Japanese Revolt with a huge amount of brigades / Victoria 2
Japanese Revolt with a huge amount of brigades

How Population Growth Works

In Victoria 2 your population growth is a percentage of the total population of each province.

That means that for a province of 1000 people, with a population growth of 0.1%, their population will grow by 1 person daily.

This also means that population growth snowballs in the late game when properly set up.

This system rewards going for population growth in the early game.

All countries and provinces in the game have a base population growth value of 0.0001%, meaning that without any bonuses you need at least 10000 people for natural population growth.

Province of Pakche on siam growing 1 person monthly due to base growth / Victoria 2
Province of Pakche on siam growing 1 person monthly due to base growth

But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a giant population with a small country.


What is Life Rating?

In Victoria 2, all provinces have a Life Rating score, which measures how habitable the province is.

The Life Rating of a province is one of the most important factors in dictating how much its population will grow.

In the game, all provinces fall in a range of 10 to 50 Life Rating.

New York with 50 Life Rating / Victoria 2
New York with 50 Life Rating

A rating of 10 is reserved for inhospitable places in the game’s timespan, or places that are largely uninhabited, such as the Sahara desert or Midway Island.

With a Life Rating of 10 you get no bonuses to population growth, but no penalties either.

But in provinces that have above a 30 Life Rating, you get an important bonus:

For each point above 30, you get a bonus of 0.01% to POP growth, up to a limit of 0.09% per month (equivalent to a Life Rating of 39).

Cairo with a Life Rating of 35 / Victoria 2
Cairo with a Life Rating of 35

Anything above 39 Life Rating won’t give you any population growth bonus.

But people are more likely to migrate to provinces with high Life Rating.

This means that provinces that have a Life Rating above 39 will also experience some more population growth due to migrations.

There is no way to purposefully increase Life Rating in Victoria 2, but some events can increase it for you.

Gold rush event giving Life Rating bonus / Victoria 2
Gold rush event giving Life Rating bonus

Technology for Population Growth

There are 5 inventions, distributed across 3 technologies, that can help your population growth.

Each invention gives a gigantic +0.02% bonus to population growth.


Medicine Tech:

  • Aerial Bacteria and Antiseptic Principle
  • Genetics: Heredity
  • Clinical Thermometers and Binaural Stethoscopes

Researching medicine is one of the most important factors for population growth.

Giving in total a bonus of 0.06% to population growth after all inventions are discovered.

Province of St Petersburg population growth with medicine researched / Victoria 2
Province of St Petersburg population growth with medicine researched

Electricity Tech:

  • X-Rays

Electricity is not so powerful for pop growth because it’s a later game tech, only being unlocked in 1880, but still giving a very big +0.02% bonus after X-Rays are invented.

Province with Electricity + Medicine unlocked / Victoria 2
Province with Electricity + Medicine unlocked

State & Government Tech:

  • Mission to Civilize

This one is different from the others, as it does not give you any population growth directly.

But it’s a requirement to trigger the Men For The Colonies event, which can increase your population massively.


How To Unlock Inventions Faster

All of these inventions have a 2% chance of being discovered per month after their tech is researched.

But this can be increased further.

Every invention has a few requirements that make it more likely to discover them.

For Aerial Bacteria and Antiseptic Principle:

  • +2%: Is not a colonial nation
  • +2%: Have researched Empiricism

For Genetics: Heredity:

  • +2%: Have researched Inorganic Chemistry
  • +2%: Is not a colonial nation

For Clinical Thermometers and Binaural Stethoscopes:

  • +2%: Have researched Inorganic Chemistry
  • +2%: Have researched Organized Factories

For X-Rays:

  • +2%: Average Consciousness at least 2
  • +2%: Have invented Advanced Metallurgy
Chance of discovering X-Rays monthly / Victoria 2
Chance of discovering X-Rays monthly

This means that after fulfilling all their respective prerequisites, each invention has a 6% chance of being discovered every month.

But unless you are desperate for some more population, usually it’s worth just waiting with 2%, which is already a good chance of unlocking each invention within a few years.


Health Care for Population Growth

In your Social Reforms tab there are 5 healthcare models available, each giving a progressively bigger bonus to population growth. They are:

  • No Health Care (no bonus)
  • Trinket Health Care (+0.02% & 1% immigrant attraction)
  • Low Health Care (+0.04% & 2% immigrant attraction)
  • Acceptable Health Care (+0.06% & 3% immigrant attraction)
  • Good Health Care (+0.08% & 4% immigrant attraction)
The 5 levels of Health Care as shown in game / Victoria 2
The 5 levels of Health Care as shown in game

Note: remember that only one of these policies can be active at a time, for a maximum of +0.08% pop growth per month.

It can be very hard to pass any Health Care reform in your entire playthrough, as it isn’t as much your choice, but it’s a decision left to your voting population.

Your upper house parties have tendencies about when they will vote for social reforms such as Health Care. So it’s important to pay attention to your ruling party and upper house parties.

That said, there are 2 Parties that will never support Social Reforms:

  • Reactionaries
  • Anarcho liberals

These parties will always vote against Social Reforms, and are in favor of repealing any you might have. They should be avoided at all costs if you plan to get Health Care.

Parties that might support social reforms:

  • Conservatives
  • Liberals
  • Fascists

These parties can be convinced to pass social reforms, but most of the time they won’t vote in favor of them.

To increase the chances of any of them voting in favor of Health Care, you can increase consciousness in your country.

Fascists might try to pass social reforms when they are in power, but otherwise it’s unlikely to get their support.

And here are the Parties that will always support Social Reforms:

  • Socialists
  • Communists
Upperhouse party composition / Victoria 2
Upperhouse party composition

The ability to enact Social Reforms is tied to upper house support of these changes.

This means that your best bet for Health Care are socialists and communists.

You can influence your voters by using your national focus to influence party loyalty in your most populous state.


POP Growth by Events & Decisions Bonuses

This section won’t cover every single country, event, and bonus in the game, since there are hundreds of them.

But some countries do have events and decisions that can impact how fast their population grows.

One of them is Prussia, with the Encourage Ruhr Boom decision, giving more pop growth.

Encourage The Ruhr Boom Prussian decision / Victoria 2
Encourage The Ruhr Boom Prussian decision

The USA also gets the Statue of Liberty event, which can be triggered by the French, giving immigration attraction.

There are also provinces where gold can be discovered. This will increase Life Rating and immigrant attraction to that province.


Men For The Colonies

Every country that isn’t a colonial nation can get the Men For The Colonies event after discovering Mission to Civilize and having at least one colonial state.

The Men For The Colonies event gives a temporary +1% growth to one state.

This is the biggest bonus in the game, and a massive boost to population.

Men for The Colonies event, adding the baby boom effect to Missouri / Victoria 2
Men for The Colonies event, adding the baby boom effect to Missouri


The most important factors in population migrations are:

  • What continent you are located in
  • Militancy & consciousness
  • POPs Life Needs
  • Jobs & Factories

Population can’t migrate into or out of uncivilized countries, so this is not something you should worry about if you’re playing as that type of country.

But 3 continents have increased immigration attraction in Vic 2:

  • North America
  • South America
  • Oceania

Each of them gets a 300% immigration attraction bonus, making it almost impossible for a country on any other continent to attract more immigrants.

Difference in immigration Americas VS Europe / Victoria 2
Difference in immigration Americas VS Europe

Militancy & Consciousness

Your militancy score is indirectly tied to your infamy, and how democratic you are.

Respecting election results and avoiding wars is a good way to reduce it.

You also need to make sure that your population is getting their needs met, otherwise they’re going to leave for better opportunities.

Also, if your consciousness is too high (higher than 6) your population is more likely to leave your country.

And finally, if your population agrees with the ruling party they are less likely to leave your country. This gives a soft immigration bonus to democratic countries.

High infamy and consciousness. / Victoria 2
High infamy and consciousness.

POPs Life Needs

If part of your population can’t get access to goods they want or need, the population size won’t grow.

And they are more likely to try and migrate to another country.

You can help the situation by either:

  1. Building factories that produce the goods your pops need, or
  2. Cutting taxes
Example of artisans not being able to get the goods they need / Victoria 2
Example of artisans not being able to get the goods they need

Jobs & Factories

If all your states have factory jobs then your population is less likely to leave.

This can also relate to unemployment. If unemployment is too high the population will leave – on the other end, if your unemployment is very low then POPs are more likely to migrate to you.

USA gaining almost 3000 people from immigration / Victoria 2
USA gaining almost 3000 people from immigration

Increasing Your Population by Acquiring Land

Using the might of your military to increase your population is also possible.

By conquering land you become the ruler of the conquered peoples. But just know that wars with other great powers can easily end up with millions of casualties on both sides.

So if you want to increase your population with few casualties, colonization is the better way.

Africa and Asia will have millions of pops you can add to your empire like this.

China alone has almost 100 million people at the start of the game, but they also have an impressive military that no other country can match at the start of the game.

Japan carving out Asia / Victoria 2
Japan carving out Asia

Africa, on the other hand, mostly doesn’t have organized states. But the lands deep in the heart of Africa need more advanced technology to be settled.


How Fast Can Your Population Grow?

After stacking the maximum amount of modifiers, one province can boom in natural population growth (if done properly). Let’s look at the math behind this.

Note: this calculation won’t take into account immigrants.

The modifiers used are:

  • Base growth (0.0001%)
  • Medicine (+0.06%)
  • Electricity (+0.02%)
  • Good Health Care (+0.08%)
  • Baby Boom (+1%)
  • Life Rating of 39 (0.09%)

This adds up to a total of +1.2501% monthly, which is a crazy amount of population growth.

To put that into perspective, in a province of 100,000 people, you’d see 1,250 born monthly.

With those numbers, you’d be growing fast enough to double your population in around 8 years.

Victoria 2 spans over a period of 100 years. So with the right modifiers in place, your population can absolutely boom until the end of the game.

Russian population reaching 45 Million by 1890/ Victoria 2
Russian population reaching 45 Million by 1890
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Gabriel Piccini

Brazilian history and strategy games nerd. Been playing paradox games since 2012 and never stopped. Likes to spend his time reading games wikis and writing guides.