The Institute for Family Policy warned this week that Spain is immersed in a “demographic winter” that is without precedent. Future projections show that the populace will age at an increasing pace without adequate replacement levels and make Spain the country with the lowest ratio of retired to active workers in all of Europe.
According to the institute, by the middle of this century, “for every three people who are active, two will be in retirement.” At this pace, Spain will surpass the rest of the European countries where the ratio of retired to active is two to one.
The president of the institute, Eduardo Hertfelder, explained that current indicators point to “serious structural problems:” while the number of persons above 65 is 7.3 million, young people under the age of 14 only number 6.2 million, that is, a difference of one 1.1 million people.
Hertfelder said this was a “consequence of a social situation in which the family is not protected or supported beyond a few limited and inadequate measures, mostly consisting of financial aid.” He noted the direct connection between the lack of help for the family and the low birth rate and aging population.
“If this is worrisome, future projections are even more so,” as “the few births that are occurring do not compensate for the continual and intense increase of the adult population, especially among the elderly.”
While Spain is atop of the list of countries with the greatest increase in its elderly population—an increase of 72 percent in the last 23 years—it is at the bottom when it comes to birth rates (1.35 children per woman), Hertfelder pointed out.
According to the institute’s projections, by the year 2032, “there will be one person over 85 for every child under 5,” and by 2050, “for every three persons over 85 there will be only two children under 5.”
“This data should lead society, political parties and the government to take urgent measures to prevent this from occurring,” he warned.