Friday, November 21, 2008

European Commission Issues Second Demographic Report on Aging Societies

The European Commission has issued its second demographic report to provides the facts and figures that are needed to assess where member states stand in responding to the challenges of demographic change. The 2008 report--"Demography Report 2008: Meeting Social Needs in an Ageing Society"--focuses on the aging society and changing family and household patterns in the EU. Among other issues addressed in the report are: What about the working population? Are people working longer? How are older people involved in society, besides work?

With respect to the baby boom generation and work, the report finds that the growth of the working-age (20-59) population is slowing down fast and will stop altogether in about 6 years; from then on, this segment of the population will be shrinking by 1 to 1.5 million people each year. While employment rates at age 60 are ten percentage points higher than in 2000, but there is still much room for improvement.
Employment after the age of 65, the typical statutory retirement age in many Member States, is very rare: only about 13% of men aged 65-69 years and 7% of women are still in employment. Part-time working could be a good way of achieving a gradual transition from work to retirement, but only about 11% of men aged 55-64 work part time and 38% of women.
Other findings include:
  • There are major differences in the social activities of older workers across countries--more so than across socioeconomic groups in a given country.
  • Rapid ageing requires adequate policy responses: opportunities to stay active on the labour
    market and in society; access to goods and services that preserve older people's autonomy; solidarity with the dependent and protection of their dignity.
  • Member States can raise labour force participation, thus creating a better balance between the active and the retired.
  • In about ten years, the potential for
    further employment growth will be exhausted; productivity will become the main
    engine of growth.
Source: European Commission News Release (November 21, 2008)

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