30 June 2021 – Long-term vision for rural areas: for stronger, connected, resilient, prosperous EU rural areas
The European Commission has put forward a long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas, an initiative creating a new momentum for rural areas, which are home to 30% of the EU’s population, building on the new opportunities created by EU’s green and digital transitions and on the lessons learnt from COVID 19.Rural areas across the EU are often affected by population decline and at the same time population in rural areas is older than in urban areas and very much feels like being left behind. This is why this communication is anchored in the democracy and demography portfolio: to present a vision that brings different policies together for the benefit of rural areas.
Based on wide consultations with citizens and other actors in rural areas, with this communication, the Commission is putting forward a Rural Pact and a Rural Action Plan, which aim to make our rural areas stronger, more connected, resilient and more prosperous.
26 July 2021 – Loneliness in the EU: Insights from surveys and online media data
The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre has presented a report containing the latest scientific evidence on loneliness and social isolation in the EU. Research shows that loneliness and social isolation have harmful repercussions on mental and physical health, as well as significant consequences on social cohesion and community trust. The report also explores initiatives to tackle loneliness in 10 EU Member States.
DemographyIn 2018, life expectancy at birth increased to 78.2 years for men and 83.7 for women. This growth is projected to continue: men born in 2070 are expected to live 86 years, and women 90
DemographyIn the EU as a whole, the composition of our households is changing – households composed of two parents with children are being joined by households consisting of people living alone, single parents or couples without children.
DemographyIn 2018, the average number of childbirths per woman was 1.55 and their median age at childbirth was 31.3.
DemographySome of us opt to move around or live abroad, but the size of these flows is volatile and can change quickly.
DemographyBy 2070, 30.3% of the population is projected to be aged 65 years or older (compared to 20.3% in 2019) and 13.2% is projected to be aged 80 years or older (compared to 5.8% in 2019)
DemographyThe share of Europe’s population in the world is shrinking and by 2070 it will account for just under 4% of the world’s population.
Impacts of demographic change
Europe’s working-age population is shrinking and we need to find ways to sustain economic growth by bringing more people into jobs and increasing productivity.
To deal with Europe’s ageing society, our health and care systems will have to adapt further and we will have to consider how to fund higher age-related public spending.
Demographic challenges often vary significantly between different parts of the same country. With some regions likely to experience rapid population change, this will lead to new opportunities and challenges, from investment to infrastructure and accessibility to access to services. Finding new solutions to support people through change will be essential.
Demographic change can also impact Europe’s position in the world. It’s share of global population and GDP will become comparatively smaller. This makes the need for Europe to be united, stronger and more strategic all the more important.
Demographic change and the twin green and digital transitions often affect, support or accelerate each other - strategic foresight will therefore be an essential tool to predict and prepare policies to address these issues.
The findings of the Commission’s Demography Report show that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Policymaking needs to zoom into the reality on the ground. The European Union, Member States and regions have a shared interest in responding to demographic change for the benefit of all Europeans. Demographic change will affect everybody and must be a factor that helps steer Europe’s recovery from the crisis and provide us with insights as we build a more resilient, sustainable and fair Union.
Click on a country or region in the map below to access demographic statistics for that area.
The NUTS classification (Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics) is a hierarchical system for dividing up the economic territory of the EU.
- NUTS 1 represents major socio-economic regions
- NUTS 2 represents basic regions for the application of regional policies
Atlas on Demography
The Atlas of Demography is a new interactive tool which helps visualise, monitor and anticipate demographic change in Europe. It can inform several policy areas - such as health, labour, and education, to name a few - with timely, robust, comparable demographic data and knowledge at the finest level of geographical detail to help target EU policies better.
Green paper on ageing
In the coming decades, the share and the number of older people in the EU will increase. Today, 20% of the population is above 65, and by 2070, it is projected to be 30%. The share of people above 80 is expected to more than double, reaching 13% by 2070. This trend is having a significant impact on people’s everyday lives and on our societies.
Given the scale, speed and impact this trend will have across society, it is important to consider new approaches and ensure that policies are fit for purpose in an era of major change – from the green and digital transitions to new forms of work and the threat of pandemics.
Competences for dealing with the effects of ageing are largely in the hands of Member States and the EU is well placed to identify key issues and trends and support action on ageing at national, regional and local level. It can help Member States and regions develop their own, tailor-made policy responses to ageing.
The European Commission adopted the green paper on ageing with the aim of launching a broad policy debate on ageing to discuss options on how to anticipate and respond to the challenges and opportunities that ageing brings.
Trends of ageing
DemographyIn 2018 5.4% of women, and 2.2% of men, aged 18-64 reduced their working time, or took employment breaks of more than a month to care for ill and/or older relatives with disabilities.
DemographyThe number of people potentially in need of long-term care is expected to increase from 19.5 million in 2016 to 23.6 million in 2030 and 30.5 million in 2050 in the EU.
DemographyThe employment rate among older workers in the EU remains lower than for younger ones. 59.1% of those aged 55-64 were employed in 2019, in comparison to 80.6% of all those aged 25-54 (for 2019).
DemographyPensions are the main source of income for most retirees. In 2019 women’s pensions in the EU were on average 27.9% lower than men’s. Women tend to earn less, have shorter, less linear careers, work part-time and take on more unpaid care responsibilities.
Proposals for areas of discussion on ageing
|Healthy and active ageing and lifelong learning. Promoting healthy lifestyles and learning throughout our lives is key to a richer and fuller life|
Improving labour market performance. Bringing more people into the labour market, enabling them to work for longer and improving productivity would help compensate for the shrinking working-age population.
|Modernising social protection systems and fighting old-age poverty. For most people, retirement comes with a drop in income and, for some, the threat of old-age poverty, often linked to increased need for health care and long-term care.|
|Improving the resilience of our health and care systems. Ageing and longevity will increase the overall demand for healthcare and long-term care services.|
|Fostering intergenerational solidarity and responsibility. The response to an ageing population includes the commitment of young and older people, fostering intergenerational solidarity and responsibility with enabling policies.|
EU Comprehensive Strategy on the Rights of the Child
Children are experts in the matters that concern them. More than 10,000 children were consulted when we developed the strategy on the rights of the child and its 6 accompanying pillars. Our role is to protect fulfil children’s rights and to empower them as agents of change today and on their way to becoming tomorrow’s leaders.
European Child Guarantee
The European Child Guarantee is an instrument focused on ‘children in need’ in the EU: those who are at risk of poverty or social exclusion.
The Guarantee will support Member States in their efforts to offer equal opportunities for children in need by improving their access to a set of basic services: early childhood education and care, education and play and leisure activities, healthcare, nutrition, and housing.
Long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas
The European Commission has put forward a long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas, identifying the challenges and concerns, as well as highlighting some of the most promising opportunities available to these regions. At the same time, based on wide consultations with citizens and other actors in rural areas, the Commission also presented a Rural Pact and a Rural Action Plan, which aim to connect Europe’s rural areas and make them stronger, resilient and more prosperous.
Loneliness in the EU
On 26 July 2021, the Commission's Joint Research Centre presented a report containing the latest scientific evidence on loneliness and social isolation in the EU.
The report contains the latest scientific evidence on loneliness and social isolation in the EU and explores initiatives to tackle loneliness in 10 EU Member States.
1 in 4 EU citizens reported feeling lonely during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic. There was a four-fold increase in loneliness among 18-35 year olds, compared to 2016. Media coverage across the EU on the phenomenon of loneliness also doubled during the pandemic, with awareness of the issue varying widely across Member States.
- 17 June 2020
Report on the impact of demographic change
- 27 January 2021
Green Paper on ageing
Public consultation on demographic change in Europe – Green paper on ageing
- 24 March 2021
- 30 June 2021