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Greece on its Way to Becoming Fastest Aging Country in the EU

greece old
The population decline in Greece will lead it to become the fastest-aging country in the EU by 2030. Credit: Greek Reporter

The population decline in Greece, which has been steady since 2011, will lead the country to having the oldest people in the EU by 2030. That is the conclusion of a report by Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, about the declining population in the Union.

If the report’s predictions come true, Greece will take the aging lead over Italy in the EU. With half of Greeks already over 50 years old, EU Commission estimates that the country’s population will decrease by almost a million in 2050 and by 2 million in 2070.

This data is consistent with various other research conducted on the population of Greece and Cyprus. One of them, published this year by the Health Research Policy and Systems in collaboration with WHO, concludes that the two countries will “acquire the characteristics of an aging population, putting a significance pressure on the social and health systems of both countries.”

It points out that both Greece and Cyprus should reform their social and health policy agenda to confront population aging and its consequence. They should “adopt fertility incentives and family policies to increase fertility, and migrants’ inclusiveness policies to improve the demographic structure and the economic activity.”

The almost decade-long financial crisis in Greece has led to an increase of the death / birth ratio. All the more Greek couples and single women are choose not to procreate, given the country’s economic dire straits. Pessimism in general is at an all time high.

population chart Greece
The population curve has been seriously dipping since 2011. Source, Credit: Eurostat

Greece rapidly aging by the minute

Another factor in the aging of the population is the reluctance by the Greek state to accept, include and put to work some of the migrants reaching its shores. This attitude, shared by the majority of Greek society, may slowly lead to the breakdown of the already semi-bankrupt Greek Social Security system.

Recent Eurostat data and demographic projections in the EU show that over the last four decades in Greece, student and pupil numbers have been decreasing. At the same time, the economically active population is shrinking.

A census taking place in a few weeks is expected demonstrate all that. It will show that the Greek population of the country will be up to half a million fewer than at the time of the last census, conducted in 2011.

That is the conclusion of a study paper published by professors Vasilis Pappas and Vyronas Kotzamanis of the Patras and Thessaly universities, respectively. The Greek population has been declining continually after 2010.

The 2011 census data indicated the start of birth decline in Greece. It showed that the number of Greek citizens fell to 9,903,268 in contrast to former population numbers that numbered over 10 million reaching at its zenith 11 million.

According to EU demographic projections, this number is expected to shrink even further when the 2021 census results come in. The Eurostat projections show that the Greek resident population will at that time be around 10.68 million.

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