Old-age Dependency Ratio

How many elderly people are there for every 100 people of working age in Europe.


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Map of the old-age dependency ratio in Europe.

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Europe is often called the ‘Old Continent’ and for good reasons. Many European countries have an ageing population and are much older than the population in other countries around the world.

One of the problems an ageing country faces, is a large population of elderly people that has to be supported by a smaller number of working age people. This is expressed though the old-age dependency ratio. A low old-age dependency ratio means there are plenty of working age people to financially support the pensioners/elderly people. A high old-age dependency ratio mean that there is a lot of financial stress on the working age population to support the elderly. A high old-age dependency ratio also creates more stress on the healthcare system, as there is a large demographic that uses the healthcare system and a small demographic that has to work to financially support it.

A high old-age dependency ratio can often be found in wealthy nations with a low birth rate. Especially countries that experienced a baby-boom after the Second World War, now see these baby-boomers retiring.

The highest old-age dependency ratios can be found in Southern Europe, Western Europe and Finland. Italy (36.4), Finland (36) and Greece (35.1) have the highest old-age dependency ratios in Europe.

Lower old-age dependency ratios can usually be found in the countries that are less-developed. In Europe, only Moldova (17.4), Turkey (13.4) and Kosovo (13.2) have an old-age dependency ratio under 20.

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