Greece is facing a demographic crisis with the country experiencing the lowest population reproduction rate in Europe. The situation has reached alarming proportions with more deaths occurring than births.
In 2010, Greece recorded 114,766 births compared to 109,084 deaths. However, over the course of a decade, the numbers have shifted dramatically. In 2020, Greece reported only 84,717 births but a staggering 131,084 deaths. This trend has led to a significant population decline.
The reproduction rate in Greece is now one of the lowest in the world, standing at 1.3 children per woman. This is well below the stability limit of 2.1 children per woman. These startling statistics were highlighted by Professor Nektarios Miltiadis, the head of the research group working on “healthy and active aging in Greece” at the University of Piraeus.
He spoke at an event organized by the Medical Association of Thessaloniki within the framework of the 87th Thessaloniki International Fair. In his speech, Miltiadis stressed the importance of addressing the consequences of Greece’s demographic crisis.
Possible Solutions for Greece’s Demographics
To combat Greece’s demographic crisis, Nektarios suggested increasing the employment of working women, young people under the age of twenty-five, and even pensioners. He argued that older individuals should be encouraged to work if they are capable, as the shrinking workforce poses economic challenges.
Miltiadis also pointed out that the issue of an aging population is not unique to Greece but affects both Western and developing countries. Advances in medicine, improved living conditions, and healthier eating habits have contributed to increased life expectancy. It does, however, present challenges, as societies now face an ageing population with a declining birth rate, as seen in Greece’s demographic crisis.
Regarding immigration as a solution, Professor Miltiadis acknowledged its potential but also noted the associated social problems. He stressed that “there should be a systematic method, considering also the geopolitical developments of the next thirty years.”
Alarming Demographic Forecast for Greece
The specific demographic problem has been observed for many decades in Greece. Faye Makandasis, diaNEOSis’ research director, noted declining fertility indicators since 1940 stemming from past generations. He expressed concern, saying that if current conditions and factors remain unchanged, “We will talk about a reduction of the population in Greece by half.”
Among the factors contributing to the decline in fertility and Greece’s demographic crisis, Makandasis identified the delay of childbearing. He stated that Greek women give birth to their first child at an average age of 30.3 years.
Looking for solutions, experts point to countries such as Sweden and France. These countries have successfully boosted their fertility rates by implementing measures to support young couples socially, professionally, and economically. This includes flexible parental leave and financial incentives for having children.
In response to the demographic crisis, the National Center for Social Research (EKKE) has proposed various measures. They include strengthening child allowances, providing premiums for mothers under thirty, and encouraging the active participation of fathers in childcare. Additionally, experts propose expanding childcare facilities and introducing the concept of assistant mothers.