A bleak future lies ahead in terms of demographics, according to the Hellenic Association of Geriatrics and Gerontology, which projects that Greece’s population by 2050 will be older and reduced by anything between 800,000 and 2.5 million people.
The projection issued by the association, ahead of International Day of Older Persons on October 1, said that variables such as low birth rates, but also the negative migration balance, will inexorably lead to a reduced population in the next three decades, with one in three people aged over 65 by 2050.
In Greece, the association said, the fertility rate – children per couple – is at 1.26 compared to 1.49 in the European Union. Experts say the fertility rate must be at least 2.1 for a population to remain stable.
According to the EU’s statistics agency Eurostat, Greece and Italy have the third lowest fertility rates in EU, behind Germany and Portugal.
With 21.3 percent of people over the age of 65, Greece also has the second oldest population in the EU, behind Italy (22 percent) and ahead of Germany (21.1 percent). At the other end of the spectrum, 13.2 percent of Ireland’s population is over 65, while the EU average is 19.2 percent.
The association is urging the state to take measures to reverse the trend in order to minimize the adverse impact of a falling and aging population.
“The consequence of the population’s gradual aging is an increase in the percentage of diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic renal failure, chronic respiratory failure, cachexia, dementia, osteoporosis and, of course, the major scourge of cancer,” said the association’s president, Ioannis G. Karaitianos.