As global birth rates continue to fall and life expectancies rise, populations are aging rapidly across the world. Per the World Bank’s latest study, these 20 nations currently possess the most elderly citizens, with over 20% aged 65 or older. Policymakers must grapple with the economic, healthcare, and social impacts of having increasingly older populations.
Japan: The World’s Oldest Country Faces a Population Crisis
With 28% over 65 years old and a median age of 48, Japan possesses the globe’s oldest people. By 2050, senior citizens may comprise nearly 40% of the country’s total population. Japan’s aging crisis stems primarily from declining birth rates and rising longevity in recent decades. Compounding this, marriages continue to drop, while only 2% of births occur outside of wedlock. Approximately one-quarter of Japanese citizens do not marry by age 50, further suppressing fertility levels. The number of retirees now matches that of active workers, creating an immense economic burden.
Italy: Europe’s Oldest Population Dealing with the Emigration Crisis
As the eldest country in Europe, Italy has witnessed 23% of its populace reach ages 65+. Falling marriage, fertility, and birth rates among industrialized countries drive Italy’s aging population. However, high youth emigration also fuels this demographic shift, as many graduates seek opportunities abroad rather than endure Italy’s economic stagnation and unemployment. Additional cultural challenges exist around marriage and pregnancies for women in the familial home. In addition, you can also read an article on- Top 10 Largest Cities in The World 2023 [With Current Populations]
Greece, Portugal, and Finland: Worst Aging Projections in the EU
After Italy, Greece, Portugal, and Finland possess the EU’s next oldest populations per percentage. All three face a shrinking tax base as over 22% of citizens turn 65 or older. Greece battles financial hardships, prompting later parenting and declining fertility rates. Portugal warns of mass elder poverty in the coming years, forecasting over 10,000 centenarians by 2050. And while Finland’s government aids rising birth rates against aging, long-term issues continue around healthcare budgets and social services.
Germany, France, and Sweden: Working Population Declines Underway
Germany, France, and Sweden each have a fifth of their populations currently of retirement age. Germany and Sweden now see fewer and fewer younger laborers entering the workforce to support growing elderly cohorts. Sweden tries to combat this with family policies that encourage higher birth rates, but challenges remain. Meanwhile, France gained nearly 35 extra years of life expectancy in the last century, compounding aging issues. If you want you can also read- Most Expensive Countries to Live in
Bulgaria, Latvia, and Lithuania: Post-Soviet States Depopulating Rapidly
Following the dissolution of the Soviet bloc, Bulgaria, Latvia, and Lithuania confront alarming demographic changes, especially growing percentages of seniors. Long-term low birth rates and high emigration among youth leave these countries depopulating. Bulgaria could shrink from 9 to 5.4 million residents by 2050 owing to low fertility and young citizens pursuing better prospects overseas.
Croatia, Slovenia Malta: The Newest EU Members Face Large Aging Populations
Many recent EU newcomers already share the burden of aging societies. Croatia manages 20.8% of seniors with ongoing fertility declines due to a lack of pregnancy support. Facing similar issues, neighbor Slovenia rolls out immigration schemes and private elderly facilities to account for rising retirees. And tiny Malta warned its elderly numbers could reach 35% by 2065 as children relocate abroad chasing career advancement.
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Hungary, Czech Republic: Government Programs Offer Incentives Against Aging Trends
Hungary and the Czech Republic actively utilize state policies to counter aging headwinds. Hungary provides financial incentives for couples that have multiple children, trying to boost low fertility rates. Czech officials conduct public awareness campaigns informing citizens about aging challenges. Both promote and develop assisted living centers for the growing share of elderly residents.