Population aging from 1950 to 2010 in seventeen transitional countries in the wider region of South Eastern Europe
Keywords:aging, demography, population, primary indicators, South Eastern Europe, syncretic indicators, trend
Aim: Population aging has profoundly reshaped demographic landscapes in all South Eastern European (SEE) countries. The aim of this study was to provide a thorough comparative inter-country assessment on the speed of population aging in the entire SEE region for the period 1950-2010.
Methods: Descriptive observational analysis of long-term trends on core primary and composite indicators of population aging across seventeen countries of the wider SEE region, with panel data sets at a national level.
Results: During the past six decades, the entire SEE region has experienced a rapid increase in the median age (from 25.2 years in 1950 to 37.9 years in 2010), with a simultaneous fall of fertility rates for two children per woman (from 3.55 children per each childbearing woman in 1950 to 1.49 in 2010), coupled with significant rise in the population of elderly citizens. The speed of population aging has vastly accelerated (with a 2.5 fold increase) over the past three decades. The percentage of individuals over 65 years has doubled from 7% in 1950 to 14% in 2010.
Conclusion: Complex national strategies are needed to cope with the shrinking labour force coupled with the growing proportion of the older population. With all likelihood, population aging will further accelerate in the near future. This profound long-term demographic transition will threaten financial sustainability of current health systems in all SEE countries.
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Copyright (c) 2015 Mihajlo Jakovljevic, Ulrich Laaser
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