Population decline and ageing

Linda Hantrais

in Family policy matters

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9781861344717
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302322 | DOI:
Population decline and ageing

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In western Europe, between the late nineteenth century and mid-twentieth century, the first demographic transition occurred, and analysts assumed that the gradual decline in mortality and fertility rates would ultimately result in low population growth across European societies. The overall effect of differences in fertility and mortality rates is that, by the end of the century, four EU15 member states – Germany, Greece, Italy, and Sweden – were showing negative natural population growth, the number of deaths being greater than the number of births, without a sufficient compensatory effect from immigration. However, Cyprus, Malta, Poland, and Slovakia were not registering negative natural population growth. This chapter, which looks at changing family forms and the family–employment relationship, explores the problems associated with defining, conceptualising, and measuring socio-demographic change from a comparative perspective. It focuses on the components of population growth and ageing. Finally, the chapter examines the extent to which the issues raised by statistics showing population decline and ageing are seen as problems at EU level and by national governments.

Keywords: Western Europe; mortality; fertility; population; employment; socio-demographic change; ageing

Chapter.  12449 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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