The European Commission has published a report stating that in the year 2010, the member states of the European Union will see their populations begin to rapidly age, signifying not only a lack of positive growth, but actually negative growth in population.
According to the Spanish newspaper ABC, the study underscores that “financial pressures are more threatening than ever, since there will be less people in the workforce and more retired people above age 65.”
Until 2010, Europe will enjoy a “brief and moderate period of rejuvenation thanks to the large hordes of young people in the ten new member states of the EU,” reports ABC. “Nevertheless, those countries have also seen a dramatic reduction in their birth rates in the last 15 years (seven of them in fact are below the European average of 1.4 children per woman).”
Likewise the study indicates that the life expectancy of these new member states “continues to be much lower than the EU average: in Central and Eastern Europe, 67 years for men and 77 years for women, versus 75 and 81 respectively for the original 15 EU states. Therefore, experts predict EU growth will accelerate the aging of the populace, leading to a rapid growth in the dependency rate of the elderly.”
On the other hand, “experts are warning of the health risks late pregnancies, which are on the rise in Europe, pose for mothers and their babies.”
“In the 15-member EU, women had their first child on average at age 29, and in the new member states at age 26. This practice has led to a large increase in the use of fertility treatments, and many pregnancies that were postponed cannot be achieved successfully later on,” ABC reports.
Lastly, the European Commission reports that “until now the original 15-member EU has saved itself from an increase in negative population growth thanks to immigration, including from countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, these countries are changing their tendencies and thanks to improved economic and quality of life conditions, they will soon be nations open to welcoming immigrants.”