‘Profound Consequences’
As European Union Grows Older

The European Union Statistics Office

  • The countries of the European Union can expect health and pension costs to soar over the next 50 years as the number of people over retirement age rises to about a third of the total population.


  • The number of people aged over 80 in the European Union will double by 2050 to around 37 million people, 10 percent of the population. By the same year over one- third of the population will be over 60, up from about a fifth today.


  • These big rises in the elderly will have profound consequences for social protection systems -- particularly pension, which are funded mostly by workers and employers. Health spending is also likely to increase significantly.


  • The main cause of the aging is the decline in births over the last two to three decades. However the ongoing decrease in death rates at higher ages is seen as a rapidly increasing factor.


  • The birth rate is due to fall further. Women born after 1970 are expected to have an average of 1.65 babies, compared to 1.95 for those born in 1950.


  • Working population will also age over the coming decades, increasing the need to extend lifetime learning and workplace retraining.