Demographic outlook for the European Union

21-12-2017

This paper is the first in an annual series which EPRS will be producing on the demographic outlook for the European Union (EU). Demography matters. The economy, labour market, healthcare, pensions, the environment, intergenerational fairness and election results – they are all driven by demography. The European Union (EU) has seen its population grow substantially – by around a quarter in the five and a half decades since 1960 – and it currently stands at over 500 million people. However, it is now beginning to stagnate, before its expected decline from around the middle of the century. With the world population having risen still more substantially and growth continuing, the EU represents a shrinking proportion of the world population. The EU population is also ageing dramatically, as life expectancy increases and fertility rates are lower than in the past. This has serious implications across a range of areas including the economy, healthcare and pensions. Free movement within the EU and migration from third countries also plays an important role in shaping demography in individual Member States and regions. The 'in-focus' section of this analysis looks at health and notes that the data, whilst inconsistent, suggests that people are not necessarily experiencing the extra life years without limitations to their usual activity.

This paper is the first in an annual series which EPRS will be producing on the demographic outlook for the European Union (EU). Demography matters. The economy, labour market, healthcare, pensions, the environment, intergenerational fairness and election results – they are all driven by demography. The European Union (EU) has seen its population grow substantially – by around a quarter in the five and a half decades since 1960 – and it currently stands at over 500 million people. However, it is now beginning to stagnate, before its expected decline from around the middle of the century. With the world population having risen still more substantially and growth continuing, the EU represents a shrinking proportion of the world population. The EU population is also ageing dramatically, as life expectancy increases and fertility rates are lower than in the past. This has serious implications across a range of areas including the economy, healthcare and pensions. Free movement within the EU and migration from third countries also plays an important role in shaping demography in individual Member States and regions. The 'in-focus' section of this analysis looks at health and notes that the data, whilst inconsistent, suggests that people are not necessarily experiencing the extra life years without limitations to their usual activity.