The demographic future of Europe – challenge or opportunity

Europe is currently facing with demographic challenge, all European countries in EU currently has to cope with demographic decline, low natural growth and the aging of part of its population. It is a challenge we must rise to, and we must rise to it now!

European commission have published trends for the aging population in Europe:

  • The average number of children per woman, stands at 1.5 children in the EU ( whereas the population replacement level is 2.1). They have announced that  rate projected by the EU for 2030 could be 1.6.
  • Life expectancy could continue to increase by a further five years between 2050 and would thus result in a larger proportion of people surviving to the ages of 80.
  • Immigration (1.8 million immigrants get into the EU in 2004, 40 million in 2050 according to Eurostat’s projections) could offset the effects of low fertility and extended life expectancy.
  • The working-age population (15 to 64) in EU-25 will fall by 48 million between 2006 and 2050.

European Commission gives five directions for demographic challenge over the coming years:

  • Helping people to  improve the balance between professional, private and working life
  • Promoting employment in Europe through more jobs and longer working lives
  • A more productive and dynamic Europe
  • Receiving and integrating immigrants in Europe
  • Sustainable public finances in Europe

For example, typical example of demographic change in Europe is Germany. Germany is one of the the biggest country in the EU, with more than 82 million people, but it is likely to shed almost 12 million by 2060. By 2050, every third German will be over 60 years old and German women have 1.3 children, which is an alarming figure. Since 2003 government have new approach, they make the workplace more family-friendly, changed their strategy from additional money to support family.

On the other hand Britain will overtake Germany and France and become the biggest country in the EU in 50 years’ time. Demographic trends show Britain’s positive birth rate, reason can be immigration. The survey predicts that Britain’s population by 2060 will increase by 25% from the current figure of just over 61 million to almost 77 million. British birth rate now it’s highest in a generation – 1.91 children per woman.

The average age of Europeans is now just over 40; this will be 48 by 2060. Survey says that “From 2015 onwards deaths would outnumber births, and population growth due to natural increase, would cease. The EU ‘s population now stands at 495 million and is projected to rise to more than 520 million by 2035, before falling to 505 million by 2060 and that across the EU ‘s 27 countries there are now four people of working age for every person over 65, but by 2060 that ratio will be 2:1.

The keys to solve the demographic problems are the promotion of demographic renewal, more jobs and longer working lives, higher productivity, integrating migrants and sustainable public finances. I think that we have less than ten years to fix and grab the opportunity.

Sources:

http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/employment_and_social_policy/situation_in_europe/c10160_en.htm

http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0,,1865419,00.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/27/population.eu

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “The demographic future of Europe – challenge or opportunity

  1. Very disturbing is the fact that the systematic increase in the number of older people is accompanied by widespread across Europe demographic decline. A larger number of retirees and pensioners means more spending money on pension benefits. As a result, the social security system is vulnerable because it generates higher labor costs and higher unemployment! It is interesting if for several years people aged 20-30 years will get a pension from the state in general?

    Reply
  2. It is quite obvious that aging is a major future concern for all european countries. The current developments will be challenging for public budgets and pension systems as the falling share of the population at traditionally productive ages means that fewer people will pay taxes and social contributions at a time when the rising share of older persons implies that more people will receive pensions and costly health service, et cetera.

    To face these challenges, a variety of reforms are needed to control future costs. These reforms are mostly country specific, but it could also be of highly importance to establish EU-wide policies.

    As mentioned in the text,the german government tries since 2003 to support families and therefore to increase the average number of children per woman. I think this was one good step in the right direction, but not enough; of course tax increases are not well seen, but they should also be considered.

    Immigration is a controversial subject, but as we can see with the example of Great Britain, immigration also has positive impact and should therefore be encouraged.

    It is quite obvious that we will have to work longer and longer, and I am sure that the retirement age will be raised again in order to have as many people in the labor force as possible.

    Actually I feel like we are quite ignoring these problems, because we are right now not really affected by it, but we should not forget that when we are retired, who will pay our pensions? And therefore we should already think about solutions and start to do something before these problems arise, even if this means to increase taxes.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s