Ageing of Europe

The Ageing of Europe, also known as the greying of Europe, is a social phenomenon in Europe characterized by a decrease in fertility, a decrease in mortality rate, and a higher life expectancy among native Europeans.[1]

The population of Europe as a percentage of the world population is rapidly decreasing and is expected to decline over the next forty years. The “greying” of Europe specifically refers to the increase in the percentage of Europe’s elderly population relative to its workforce.

Contents [hide]
1 Overall trends
2 Right wing views regarding the ageing of Europe
3 United Kingdom
4 France
5 Germany
6 Italy
7 Spain
8 Portugal
9 Belgium
10 Middle and Eastern Europe
11 Russia
12 See also
13 Further reading
14 References
15 External links

[edit] Overall trends
Main article: Historical demography#Historical population of the world
Giuseppe Carone and Declan Costello of the International Monetary Fund projected in September 2006 that the ratio of retirees to workers in Europe will double to 0.54 by 2050 (from four workers per retiree to two workers per retiree).[1][2] William H. Frey, an analyst for the Brookings Institution think tank, predicts the median age in Europe will increase from 37.7 years old in 2003 to 52.3 years old by 2050 while the median age of Americans will rise to only 35.4 years old.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates only 39% of Europeans between the ages of 55 to 65 work. If Frey’s prediction for Europe’s rising median age is correct, Europe’s economic output could radically decrease over the next four decades.[3]

Austria’s Social Affairs Minister said in 2006 that, by 2010, the 55 to 64 year old age bracket in the European Union would be larger than the 15 to 24 year old bracket. The Economic Policy Committee and the European Commission issued a report in 2006 estimating the working age population in the EU will decrease by 48 million, a 16% reduction, between 2010 and 2050, while the elderly population will increase by 58 million, a gain of 77%.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the European Union will experience a 14% decrease in its workforce and a 7% decrease in its consumer populations by 2030.[4]

[edit] Right wing views regarding the ageing of Europe
Main article: Opposition to immigration
Some of those on the right wing of the political spectrum are worried about the decline in the rate of population growth of the native European peoples since the end of World War II. It is contended by some such persons that the declining birth rate of the population of the native European peoples needs to be reversed from its present level of about 1.4, which if continued would mean a population decline of the native European peoples by nearly half in each generation, back to a replacement level of 2.1 to prevent the overwhelming of Europe by what has been described as “hordes of legal and illegal immigrants,” which it has been (and would continue to be) considered necessary to allow to migrate to the homeland of the native European peoples in order to prevent labor shortages. It has been argued that immigration leads to ethnic conflicts, such as the 2005 civil unrest in France.[5][6][7]

[edit] United Kingdom
Main article: Demography of the United Kingdom
The UK has a fertility rate of 1.94 in 2008 according to World Bank.[8] The second highest fertility rate of the European powers just below France at 2.

[edit] France
Main article: Demographics of France
France overtook Ireland as the European Union member state with the highest birth-rate in 2007.[9] If the projected birth rates continue, France will have the largest population in the EU by 2050, with 75 million citizens, before Germany.[10] However, a large part of the increase is due to the rise of the Muslim population in France, which makes up 10% or 6 million of the 60 million total.

[edit] Germany
Main articles: Germans, Demographics of Germany, and Social issues in Germany

Population of German territories 1800–2000 and immigrant population from 1975–2000With 82 million inhabitants in January 2010,[11] Germany is the most populous country in the European Union. However, its fertility rate of 1.38 children per mother is one of the lowest in the world,[12] and the federal statistics office estimates the population will shrink to between 65 and 70 million by 2060 (65 million assuming a net migration of +100,000 per year; 70 million assuming a net migration of +200,000 per year).[13] With death rates continuously exceeding low-level birth rates, Germany is one of a few countries for which the demographic transition model would require a fifth stage in order to capture its demographic development.[14] In Germany, the population growth rate has declined so much that the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation came up with comprehensive plans to tear down numerous buildings and replace them with parks in various cities and the Government of Germany developed a plan to reduce at great expense the width of sewer pipes in various cities.[7]

[edit] Italy
Main article: Demography of Italy
Italy will need to raise its retirement age to 77 or admit 2.2 million immigrants annually to maintain its worker to retiree ratio.[15] About 25% of Italian women do not have children while another 25% only have one child.

The region of Liguria in northwestern Italy now has the highest ratio of elderly to youth in the world. Ten percent of Liguria’s schools closed in the first decade of the 21st century. The city of Genoa, one of Italy’s largest and the capital of Liguria, is declining faster than most European cities with a death rate of 13.7 deaths per 1,000 people, almost twice the birth rate, 7.7 births per 1,000 people, as of 2005[update].

The Italian government has tried to limit and reverse the trend by offering financial incentives to couples who have children, and by increasing immigration. While fertility has remained stagnant, immigration has minimized the drop in the workforce.[16]

Italy, a nation which produced more emigrants than immigrants for years, is struggling with its new-found status as a nation of immigration. Concern over rising rates of criminal activity and terrorism has fuelled support for Lega Nord, a regionalist political party in northern Italy where most of Italy’s immigrants reside. Amongst other people, Tracy Wilkinson of the Los Angeles Times has accused the Northern League of promoting xenophobic policies.

More than 30% of Italian males over the age of 30 live in homes owned by their parents. Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, former Italy’s Economy Minister, proposed granting a tax break, worth €1,000, to Italians between the ages of 20 and 40 who rent apartments.

He publicized the idea during a Senate hearing on the government’s budget for 2008, referring to the young men as “bamboccioni,” big babies. Union leader Guglielmo Epifani and writer Aldo Nove said Padoa-Schioppa’s tax break does not go far enough.

Nove, author of My Name is Roberta, I’m 40 years old and earn 250 euros a month, said that in 1978 a tenant spent about 25% of his salary on housing. Now renting an apartment exceeds the salary of a young worker. “What else is there to say?”[17] Comedian and activist Beppe Grillo published on his blog a letter from one of these young men living with their parents, where he detailed how it is economically impossible for him to move to any available apartment, because of low wages and high rents.[18]

[edit] Spain
Main article: Demographics of Spain
In 1970, Spain’s TFR, 2.9 children per woman, ranked second in Western Europe after Ireland’s 3.9 children per woman. By 1993 Spanish fertility declined to 1.26 children per woman, the second lowest after Italy.

In 1999, Rocío Fernández-Ballesteros, Juan Díez-Nicolás, and Antonio Ruiz-Torres of Autónoma University in Madrid published a study on Spain’s demography, predicting life expectancy of 77.7 for males and 83.8 for females by 2020.[19] Arup Banerji and economist Mukesh Chawla of the World Bank predicted in July 2007 that half of Spain’s population will be older than 55 by 2050, giving Spain the highest median age of any nation in the world.[20]

[edit] Portugal
Main article: Demographics of Portugal
Portugal’s population census of 1994 found that 13.1% of the population was above the age of 65. Average life expectancy for Portuguese increased by eight years between the 1980s and the first decade of the 21st century.

In the 1960s life expectancy for men ranked comparatively low in relation to other Western European nations, with 61.2 years for men and 77.5 years for women. As of 2006, the average for both sexes was at 77.7 years. In 1999 demographers predicted the percentage of elderly Portuguese would increase to 16.2% and 17.6% in 2010.[21]

[edit] Belgium
Main article: Demography of Belgium
The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) High Council of Finance’s (HCF) Study Committee on Aging (SCA) predicted in 2007 that Belgium’s population will increase by 5% by 2050 due to immigration, a higher fertility rate, and longer life expectancy. However, the IMF’s study indicates Belgium’s elderly population will increase by over 63% to over 25% of the country’s overall population.

The Belgian government spent 9.1% of its GDP on pensions and 7.1% on health care expenses in 2005. By 2050 total social spending is expected to increase by 5.8%, assuming there is no change in the age of retirement. Most of this higher social spending comes from pension and health care, rising by 3.9% to 13.0% of GDP and 3.7% to 10.8% of GDP respectively.

The decline in the workforce will partly compensate by lowering unemployment which will in turn lower the cost of childcare.[22] The IMF also predicts that by 2050 the percentage of Belgian population over the age of 65 will increase from 16% to 25%.[23]

[edit] Middle and Eastern Europe
Main articles: Demographics of Georgia and Demographics of Ukraine
The World Bank issued a report on June 20, 2007, “From Red To Grey: ‘The Third Transition’ of Aging Populations In Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union,” predicting that between 2007 and 2027 the populations of Georgia and Ukraine will decrease by 17% and 24% respectively.[24] The World Bank estimates the population of 65 or older citizens in Poland and Slovenia will increase from 13% to 21% and 16% to 24% respectively between 2005 and 2025.[25]

[edit] Russia
Main article: Demographics of Russia

Population (in millions) of Russia 1950-January 2010.The population of Russia declined from its peak of 148,689,000 in 1990, to about 143 million people in 2005, a 4% decline. The World Bank predicted in 2005 that the population was set to decrease to 111 million by 2050, a 22% decline, if trends did not improve.[25] The United Nations similarly warned that the population could decline by one third by mid-century.[26]

The population decline in Russia has been caused by low birth rates and abnormally high death rates for working age males. Lev Gudkov, a demographer with the Russian Center for Public Opinion Research, estimated in 2002 that over the next fifty years Russia’s population may decrease by 72 million people, a 50% decline, with one retiree for every worker, describing parts of Siberia and the Far East as depopulated “deserts”.[26] A commentary published by Rodina suggested that those Russian sociologists making the gloomiest predictions were working for western organizations committed to destroying Russia.[27] Nationalists have widely blamed the problem on the presence of women in the workplace, arguing working women lower Russia’s fertility rate.[28]

However in 2006, a national programme was developed with a goal to reverse the decline by 2020. A study published shortly after in 2007 showed that the rate of population decrease had slowed: According to the study, deaths exceeded births by 1.3 times, down from 1.5 times in the previous year, thus, if the net decrease in January–August 2006 was 408,200 people, in the same period during 2007 it was 196,600. The decline continued to slow in 2008 with only half the population loss compared to 2007. The reversal continued at the same pace in 2009 as death rates continued to fall, birth rates continued to rise and net migration stayed steady at about 250 thousand; In 2009 Russia saw population growth for the first time in 15 years.[29][30]

Year Population growth[31][32]
2000 -586,000
2001 -655,000
2002 -685,000
2003 -796,000
2004 -694,000
2005 -720,000
2006 -554,000
2007 -212,100
2008 -121,400
2009 +23,300

The trend in the number of births and deaths 1990-2009.The number of Russians living in poverty has halved since the economic crisis following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and the improving economy has had a positive impact on the country’s low birth-rate, as it rose from its lowest point of 8.27 births per 1000 people in 1999 to 11.28 per 1000 in 2007.[11][33] Russian Ministry of Economic Development hopes that by 2020 the population will stabilize at 138-139 million, and that by 2025 it will begin to increase again to its present day status of 142-145, also raising the life expectancy to 75 years.[34]

The two leading causes of death in Russia are heart disease and stroke, accounting for about 52% of all deaths.[35] While cardiovascular disease-related deaths decreased in Japan, North America, and Western Europe between 1965 and 2001, in Russia CVD deaths increased by 25% for women and 65% for men.

The percentage of infertile, married couples rose to 13% in the first decade of the 21st century, partially due to poorly performed abortions. According to expert Murray Feshbach 10-20% of women who have abortions in Russia are made infertile, though according to the 2002 census, only about 6-7% of women have not had children by the end of their reproductive years.[36][37]

Provincial governments have begun offering special incentives to couples who procreate. In 2005 Sergei Morozov, the Governor of Ulyanovsk, made September 12 a provincial holiday, the “Day of Conception,” on which couples are given half of the work day off to copulate.

Mothers who give birth on June 12, Russia’s national day, are rewarded with money and expensive consumer items. In the first round of the competition 311 women participated and 46 babies were born on the following June 12. Over 500 women participated in the second round in 2006 and 78 gave birth. The province’s birth rate rose 4.5% between 2006 and 2007.[38]

Large-scale immigration is suggested as a solution to declining workforces in western nations, but according to the BBC, would be unacceptable to most Russians. Organizations like the World Health Organization and the UN have called on the Russian government to take the problem more seriously, stressing that a number of simple measures such as raising the price of alcohol or forcing people to wear seat belts might make a lasting difference.[26] In January 2010, in an effort to combat bootlegged vodka, the government set a minimum price for vodka, more than doubling the cost of the cheapest vodka on the market which is often much more hazardous to consume than legal vodka.[39]

Then-President Vladimir Putin said in a state of the nation address that “no sort of immigration will solve Russia’s demographic problem”. Yevgeny Krasinyev, head of migration studies at the state-run Institute of Social and Economic Population Studies in Moscow, said Russia should only accept immigrants from the Commonwealth of Independent States, a view echoed by Alexander Belyakov, the head of the Duma’s Resources Committee.

Migration in Russia grew by 50.2% in 2007, and an additional 2.7% in 2008, helping stem the population decline. Migrants to Russia primarily come from CIS states and are Russians or Russian speakers.[40] Thousands of migrant workers from Ukraine, Moldova, and the rest of the CIS have also entered Russia illegally, working but avoiding taxes.[28] There are an estimated 10 million illegal immigrants from the ex-Soviet states in Russia.[41]

[edit] See also
Demographics of Europe
Immigration to Europe
Aging of Japan
General:

List of countries and territories by fertility rate
Population ageing
Population pyramid
Sub-replacement fertility
World population
Demographic economics:

Dependency ratio
Generational accounting
Pensions crisis
[edit] Further reading

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