EU Science Hub

Demographic Scenarios for the EU


Over the recent decades, the EU has been shaped by population growth, but now its population is ageing. Together with North America and East Asia, the EU is moving towards longer-living, lower-fertility, and higher-educated societies. Facing this new demographic frontier naturally prompts the questions: Who will live and work in Europe in the coming decades? How many, and with what skills? To answer these, this report examines the key factors that will shape European demographics over the coming decades. By examining not only the role of migration, fertility and mortality, but also education levels and labour force participation rates, a more comprehensive view of possible futures can be outlined than the conventional demographic projections allow for. The first five sections of this report focus on demographic challenges inside the EU, such as population ageing, a shrinking labour force, more non-working people being dependent on working people, and showing the impact of high levels of emigration in some EU Member States. With these challenges in mind and with a view towards 2060, the report builds scenarios to understand the long-term effects of changes in key trends, and whether undesirable consequences can be limited or counteracted. As the EU and its demographics do not exist in isolation, the following sections explore the relevant trends for world demographics and for migration flows.