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Low european birth rates: Welfare at risk

First, sorry for my english ;-)

Europe will suffer a demographic calamity in this century. At least is what the European Union statistical office (Eurostat) predicts in a 50 years term. Birth rates in Europe dropped dramatically since the 70s but never recovered, so next generations will pay a high price. According to Eurostat:

1) Low birth rates and increasing number of survivors to high ages causes aging in all member states and eventually the loss of population.

2) The population aged 65 and older will rise from 17% in 2008 to 30% in 2060 in EU. The elderly people will represent almost a third of population. An those aged 80, from 4,4% to 12,1% in the same period.

3) From 2015 deaths will outnumber births, so natural increase will cease. Net immigration will be the only population growth factor.

4) From 2035 not even immigration will counterbalance the negative natural change, so population will also start to fall. There will be also a decrease of 20 million workers

5) The old age dependency ratio in Europe is projected to increase from 25% in 2008 to 53% in 2060. The old age dependency ratio is the population aged 65 and older divided by the working-age population. There are four working-age persons for each person aged 65 or more in 2008 (4 to 1) and there will be only two for each person aged 65 or more in 2060 (2 to 1). European population pyramids are progressing to inverted age structures.


There are many European Union members that have already more deaths than births and are also losing population: Germany (lowest birth rate), Austria, Italy, many ex-communist countries... Germany, where there were more births in 1944 than in 2007, loses aprox 150.000 people each year and 30% of women born in 1960 never had children.

Public social security, healthcare and education costs aprox 70% of annual budget in most european countries. Of couse the system is financed with the wealth produced by working-age people. The question is easy: If the number of working-age people decreases the government will collect less money. If the number of elderly people increases the pressure on public pensions and healthcare will be stronger. In that situation, who will pay the system? How will governments keep up its own pyramid schemes if there is not a population pyramid anymore to pay them?

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egapele's picture

I read recently

that in Japan the aging population has been outnumbering live births for a while and it is the biggest concern for their economy.

USA and Ireland are the only

USA and Ireland are the only western countries (apart from latin america) that achieve replacemente level (2.1 children per woman´s life time). Even among US white americans is much higher (1.9) than in european union average (1.4)

Birth and death rates in 2008 according to CIA and UN:

Ireland[/b] 14.3 births per 1.000 people/ 7.8 deaths per 1.000 people
United States 14.2 births/ 8.3 deaths
China 13.7 births/ 7 deaths

United Kingdom 10.7 births/ 10.1 deaths
France 12.7 births/ 8.5 deaths
Canada 10.3 births/ 7.6 deaths
Spain 9.9 births/ 9.9 deaths
Sweden 10.1 births/ 10.2 deaths
Finland 10.4 births/ 10 deaths
Denmark 10.7 births/ 10.3 deaths
Italy 8.4 births/ 10.6 deaths
Austria 8.7 births/ 9.9 deaths
Germany 8.2 births/ 10.8 deaths

European Union (27 members) 10.2 births/ 10.4 deaths

France has relatively high fertility and birth rates due to massive immigration from former colonies and overseas territories. French fertility improved from 1.6 to 1.9 in only 10 years but 2 out of 5 newborns have at least one parent of african or arab descent, thanks to government generous aid for the poor. In fact, in Germany 60% of children aged 5 and younger in big cities have at least one parent born abroad. For local women welfare benefits are too low to be attractive.

Sorry, i don´t know why

Sorry, i don´t know why everything is in bold type