EU Economy
EU27 population expected to peak by 2040; Strongest population growth in Ireland, Luxembourg, Cyprus and UK
By Finfacts Team
Jun 9, 2011 - 4:20 AM

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The EU27 population is expected to peak by around 2040 with the strongest population growth in Ireland, Luxembourg, Cyprus and the United Kingdom (UK). One person in eight will be aged 80 or more in 2060

The EU27 population is projected to increase from 501 million on 1 January 2010 to 525 million in 2035, to peak at 526 million around 2040, and thereafter gradually decline to 517 million in 2060. The EU27 population is also projected to continue to grow older, with the share of the population aged 65 years and over rising from 17% in 2010 to 30% in 2060, and those aged 80 and over rising from 5% to 12% over the same period.

These population projections1 for the period 2010-2060 are issued by Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union. Population projections are scenarios that aim to provide information about the possible future

size and structure of the population, and should therefore be considered with caution.

Strongest population growth in Ireland, Luxembourg, Cyprus and the United Kingdom

There are projected to be considerable differences between the member countries. Between 2010 and 2060, the population is projected to rise in fourteen member countries and fall in thirteen. The strongest population growth is projected to be found in Ireland (+46%), Luxembourg (+45%), Cyprus (+41%), the United Kingdom (+27%), Belgium (+24%) and Sweden (+23%), and the sharpest declines in Bulgaria (-27%), Latvia (-26%), Lithuania (-20%), Romania and Germany (both -19%).

In 2060, the member countries with the largest populations would be the United Kingdom (79m), France (74m), Germany (66m), Italy (65m) and Spain (52m).

A significant increase in the older population between 1960 and 2060

The EU27 population is expected to become older throughout the projection period, due in particular to relatively low fertility and an increasing number of people living to higher ages. This ageing process will occur in all member countries. In 2060, the share of the population aged 65 or more is projected to range from 22% in Ireland and 25% in the United Kingdom, Belgium and Denmark to 36% in Latvia, 35% in Romania and Poland and 33% in Bulgaria, Germany and Slovakia. Comparing 2060 with the situation one hundred years before, in 1960, the share of those aged 65 or more is expected to increase between two and six times in the member countries for which data are available.

In 2060, the share of the population aged 80 or more is projected to be 12% on average in the EU27, to range from 9% in Ireland, Cyprus and the United Kingdom to 14% in Spain, Italy and Germany. Compared with the situation one hundred years before, in 1960, the share of those aged 80 or more is expected to grow between five and eighteen times by 2060 in the member countries for which data are available.

In consequence, the old age dependency ratio in the EU27, i.e. the population aged 65 years and older divided by the population aged 15 to 64, is projected to increase from 26% in 2010 to 53% in 2060. In other words, there would be only two persons aged 15 to 64 for every person aged 65 or more in 2060, compared with four persons to one in 2010. The old age dependency ratio is projected to be 60% or more in Bulgaria, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, and 45% or less in Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom.

In 1960, the old age dependency ratio ranged from 10% to 19% in the member countries for which data are available, meaning that there were between five and ten persons aged 15 to 64 for every person aged 65 or more.

SEE also:

Eurostat: The greying of the baby boomers

Finfacts: Global population to grow to 7bn in 2011; Family photo of all humanity could be taken in area of Los Angeles city

Finfacts: Global population forecast at 10.1bn by year 2100; To hit 7bn this year 12 years after 6bn milestone


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