Greece’s population has declined by 360,000 in the last seven years and is projected to drop by a further 770,000 people over the next 12 years if birthrates remain at today’s levels, according to recent data collected by experts at the National Center of Social Research (EKKE) and a special parliamentary committee on demographics and social affairs.
More ominously, Greece’s population could plummet by up to 50 percent in 35-50 years if nothing is done to tackle the low birthrate, the aging population and the brain drain sparked by the migration of young people to foreign lands in search of a viable career.
As a result, Greece’s workforce will shrink even further and analysts fear this will have a devastating impact on the economy and the country’s already severely burdened social insurance system.
Critics also point to a lack of initiative from successive Greek governments to tackle the problem and cite the fact that the last time the issue was seriously discussed in Parliament – apart from a House debate in 2018 – was nearly three decades ago.
Noting that Greece does not have a specific policy on demographics, analysts say that handing out benefits to large families is not enough to stem the rapid population decline and that immediate measures are needed – such as the creation of powerful body made up of representatives from all political parties.
The only attempt at tackling the issue was the creation in 2005 (on the recommendation of the EKKE) of the Institute of Demographic Policy – under the auspices of the Health Ministry – which, however, never operated.