In the shadow of the baby boom
If, as is the case virtually everywhere in Europe as well
as in most other countries of the world, life expectancy
continues to rise while fertility rates decline, then not
only individuals but entire populations are bound to
age accordingly. In 1950 the median age of the European
population was 31 years. By 2005 the figure had
reached 38, and projections indicate that it is set to rise
to 48 years by 2050.8 What this means is that Europe’s
population is ageing by roughly two days a week, and
elderly people will soon outnumber young people.
Longer life means the realization of one of mankind’s
dreams, and most Europeans reach old age in a surprisingly
good state of health. In retirement they have a
level of prosperity and social security that would have
been unimaginable only a few generations ago. Europe’s
national social security systems ensure that no one in
Europe needs to grow old without medical care, in bitter
poverty, or without adequate housing — at last theoretically.
The fourth period of life following childhood,
education/training, and employment, a period that
many people never enjoyed in earlier times, is, for many
Europeans, now nearly as long as the working phase of
their lives. One of the reasons for this development is
that many European countries reduced their retirement
age in the last decades of the 20th century.
Read more: order the study at www.earthprint.com.