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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, means the country will have the oldest population in the EU by 2030. That is the conclusion of a recent 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 fifty years old, EU Commission estimates that the country’s population will decrease by almost a million in 2050 and by two million in 2070.

This data is consistent with the results of the census conducted earlier in 2022 which shows that the population in Greece has shrunk by 3.5 percent during the last decade.

According to the data of the country-wide census, the current population of permanent residents is 10,432,481. Of those, 5,357,232 are female while 5,075,249 are male.

Attica, the most populous region of Greece, registered 3,792,469 permanent residents. This marks a decrease of 35,965 compared to the last census of 2011.

Central Macedonia is the second most populous region of Greece with 1,792,069 inhabitants. The population has decreased by 90,039 compared to 2011.

Overall, twelve out of thirteen regions in Greece have registered a drop in population, according to the ELSTAT census.

Several other recent studies have confirmed this trend.

One of them, published in 2021 by the Health Research Policy and Systems in collaboration with WHO, concludes that the two countries, Greece and Cyprus, will “acquire the characteristics of an aging population, putting significant 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 in the death / birth ratio. All the more Greek couples and single women are choosing 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 of 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 numbers have been decreasing. At the same time, the economically active population is shrinking.

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