Spain hasn’t gotten this old in 23 years

by Lorraine Williamson
old people in Spain

MADRID – Longer life expectancy and postponement and adjustment of the desire to have children among Spaniards. This means more old people and less new borns in Spain.

Spain will again show significant figures when it comes to aging this year. Moreover, the demographic crisis is getting worse every year. The Spanish INE concludes that Spain has not become this old in 23 years. 

According to the latest data and forecasts from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), Spain will have an aging population of about 133.5% by the end of 2022. That is, there are over 133 people over the age of 64 for every 100 people under the age of 16. Furthermore, this percentage represents the highest growth since 1999. Last year the aging population was 129.1%. The conclusion of the INE: “Spain has not gotten this old in 23 years.” 

Spain has been aging rapidly since 2000 

Graphs from the INE show that before the new millennium the population under 16 was larger than the population over 64 years. Since 2000, Spain has been aging at a rapid pace with annual percentages not falling below 100%. 

Two causes of significant aging in Spain 

According to the article in Eleconomista.es, the ever increasing aging population is the result of two factors:

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  • the birth rate in Spain is currently at an all-time low
  • life expectancy continues to rise.

In 2021, 338,532 children were born, a whopping 39% fewer than 10 years ago. On average, Spanish women had 1.19 children last year, also an all-time low. 

Postponing and adjusting the wish to have children among Spaniards 

The decline in the birth rate has been exacerbated in recent years by crises such as the corona pandemic, wars in neighboring countries and the precarious economic situation we currently find ourselves in. Many people put off having children or even give up parenthood. Life expectancy is currently 83 years on average, significantly higher than in the 1990s. 

Aging is a major problem for a healthy working-retired ratio 

This so-called ‘demographic crisis’ has major consequences for the ratio between the active labor force paying social security contributions and the number of pensioners. According to experts, the ideal ratio should be 2.6 working people to 1 pensioner to make the current shortage disappear. 

At the end of 2021, this ratio was 2.2 working people to 1 pensioner. According to the director of the Adecco Foundation, the current ratio does not guarantee the sustainability of the pension system and requires urgent intervention from the government and the business community. 

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