Magazine article European Social Policy

Demography : Report Highlights Implications of Ageing on Family Policies

Magazine article European Social Policy

Demography : Report Highlights Implications of Ageing on Family Policies

Article excerpt

The ageing of the population and the pronounced evolution in the family and household patterns in the EU are the two main themes of the Demography Report, published by the European Commission, on 21 November(1). The report is published every two years and provides the latest facts and figures needed to assess whether the member states are able to respond to the challenges of demographic change. It will be presented at the second European Demography Forum, on 24-25 November in Brussels.

AFTERMATH OF BABY BOOM

The phenomenon of high birth rates worldwide after World War Two, known as the baby boom, lasted into the 1960s. The report notes that the baby-boomers are now reaching their sixties and are starting to retire from the labour market. This marks a turning point in the demographic development of the European Union.

Over the last decade, both the working age population (20-59) and the over-60s have been growing by an average of one to 1.5 million people a year. From now on, however, the over-60s will increase by more than two million people a year for the next 25 years. Growth in the working age population is slowing down fast and will stop altogether in around six years; from then on, this segment of the population will be shrinking by one to 1.5 million people a year.

The report shows that in 2007 only 50% of men and 40% of women were still working at age 60. In a majority of member states and for the EU as a whole, the employment rate of people aged 55-64 remains below the Lisbon target of 50% in 2010. There has nevertheless been an increase of ten percentage points compared to the year 2000 in the employment rate of older workers. The trend of earlier retirement has been reversed, a clear indication that the Lisbon strategy is working, notes the report.

MARRIAGE LESS POPULAR

The social reality of family life has changed profoundly in recent decades, says the report. …

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