Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Population Policy Acceptance Survey, Work package 1, Deliverable 1: State of the art

Project ID: HPSE-CT-2002-00153


Since the 60ies of the 20th century nearly all industrialised countries witnessed remarkable demographic change. Fertility fell below replacement level inducing - together with increasing life expectancy- population ageing and population decline. While population decline was and can be mitigated by international immigration population ageing remains an outstanding phenomenon. The UN Study on "Replacement Migration" (UN, 2000) illustrates options to maintain population size, the size of the population of working age or to halt demographic ageing with this latter option as a rather theoretical one. The example of Europe may illustrate this.
The 47 countries which Europe comprises in the UN definition had a population of 728 million in 1995. Total fertility rate (TFR) for this Europe declined from 2.6 births per woman in 1950 to 1.57 by 1990-1995. Life expectancy at birth rose from 66.2 years in 1950-1955 to 72.6 years in 1990-1995. With that the proportion of the population aged 65 or older has risen from 8.2 % in 1950 to 13.9 % in 1995 while the potential support ratio (number of working age persons (15 to 64 years) per 1 person 65 years or older) declined from 8.0 in 1950 to 4.8 in 1995.
In the UN medium variant of 1998 (assuming net immigration of 428,000 annually) population decline of Europe is to be expected after 2000 leading to 628 million in 2050. In 2050 27 million persons (4.3 %) would be post-1995 immigrants or their descendants. Working-age population would reach a peak in 2010 and start declining to 364 million in 2050, that are a quarter less than in 1995. The elderly population will grow, and the potential support ratio would fall from 4.8 to 2.1 in 2050.

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