Demographic ageing in Europe...

The geography of ageing in Europe has changed and will continue changing. Following World War II, the oldest population in Europe was in Western Europe and this remained the case into the 1980s. Today Southern Europe has caught up: around 16% of the population in each of these zones is 65 years or over. In thirty years, nearly all the major European regions will have the same proportion of old persons, on the order of 26%. Southern Europe will be slightly older (27%).

In 2008:

  • The proportion of inhabitants aged 65 or over was below 12.5% in only six countries (Ireland, Iceland, Moldavia, Macedonia, Slovakia, and Cyprus).
  • Nearly all other countries had crossed the 14% mark, while half of them exceeded 16.2%.
  • With 20.1% of its population aged 65 or over, Germany headed the list, along with Italy (20%).

Accelerated ageing expected from 2040:

  • The proportion of the population aged 65 and over will exceed 20% in all countries studied except Ireland (19.4%); in half of them it will be above 25.7%.
  • From 2008-2040, the proportion of persons aged 65 or over could rise more than 1.5 times in 26 of the 29 countries, while in Malta, Poland and Slovakia it is likely to double.
  • With around 31% of their populations aged 65 or over, Italy and Germany are likely to remain at the top of the list, followed by Slovenia (29%) and Greece, Spain, Portugal and Austria (approximately 28%).
  • Countries located in Northern Europe-Ireland (19.4%), Luxembourg (22.2%), the United Kingdom (22.5%) and Norway (23.8%)- are predicted to occupy the other end of the scale, together with Cyprus (20%).

Source: Alexandre Adveev, Tatiana Eremenko, Patrick Festy, Joëlle Gaymu, Nathalie Le Bouteillec, Sabine Springer, «Populations and Demographic Trends of European Countries, 1980-2010», Ined, Population-E, 66 (1), 2011

Contact: Alexandre Adveev, Tatiana Eremenko, Patrick Festy, Joëlle Gaymu, Nathalie Le Bouteillec, Sabine Springer

Online : September 2011