Europe, Globe, United Kingdom

Europe is ageing in the 21st century

This phenomenon threatens to undermine the EU’s competitiveness, exacerbate labour shortages, inflate public budgets and deepen regional inequalities. Studies suggest that by 2050, 25% of Europe’s population will be over 65.


 Ernesto H. Lacher


The trend in the ageing of Europeans is set to amplify over the next four decades, which, coupled with the increase in the elderly population, will have consequences in several spheres of life and development.

In this regard, the United Nations (UN) has issued a series of guidelines to guide the countries affected, asking them to take this into account when implementing their social policies.

The Covid-19 pandemic and its higher incidence in older adults, among other factors, prompted the European Commission to launch guidelines calling for the development of a Strategic Framework for Mainstreaming Ageing to ensure its systematic consideration and integration into public policies.

But these intentions come up against obstacles such as lack of knowledge and awareness of ageing concerns and the needs of different age groups, including older people. Also lack of commitment, political resources, and limited experience in mainstreaming ageing. In Latin America, the causes of this phenomenon are diverse. One of them is the demographic transition, which is the shift of populations from high to low birth and death rates.

On the other hand, mortality decline normally precedes fertility decline, resulting in population growth during the transition period.

A recent report on demographic change issued by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities in Luxembourg, and published by the European Community, paints an alarming picture of the profound social and economic transformation brought about by the shrinking working population.

The country most affected is Italy, where the growing number of pensioners does not match the number of newborns, and in this context the efforts of Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing government to boost the birth rate have so far failed to reverse the demographic trend. It is followed by Spain, where all statistical indicators also warn that the birth rate does not promise a promising future, as in 2023 there were 322,075 births, the lowest figure since 1941, according to the latest data from the National Institute of Statistics. This may explain the increase in the average age reported by Eurostat, as there are fewer and fewer births and a higher life expectancy.

Thus, most regions of the so-called old continent will see their population over 60 years of age double in the next 30 years. On the other hand, the number of people over 80 years of age will increase dramatically.

The continent has been showing a noticeable trend for several years now, which can be seen in the population graphs, which are becoming increasingly wider in the retirement years and narrower in the working ages. Studies indicate that this trend will continue and that in the working population it may lead to new forms of work and increased burdens on the working mass to support the growing majority who will not be working. According to the Eurostat report, this trend will also have profound consequences for social protection systems, particularly pensions, and health care spending will also rise significantly.PL

(Translated by Cristina Popa – Email: Pixabay



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