Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 14/06/2021

Growing old in Europe: two new reports shed light on long-term care and pensions across the EU

On 14 June 2021, the Council of the EU endorsed the key conclusions of the 2021 reports on long-term care and on pension adequacy, that illustrate the situation of older people in the EU.

Icons of older people writing on a computer and walking in the countryside

© Flaticon

The two reports analyse the situation of older people in the EU, looking into whether Europeans can maintain decent living standards in retirement, how many older people need support in their daily activities and whether they can access and afford the help they need. 

Long-term care

As the 2021 Long-term care Report observes, population ageing is driving an increased demand of long-term care services. 

The number of people potentially in need of care is projected to rise by more than 8 million until 2050.  

The financial burden is heavy, and more than a third of older people in the EU do not use the necessary care because they cannot afford it.

Many more older women need long-term care than men, 33 percent compared to 19 percent. Women are also the large majority of carers, while many workers in the sector experience difficult working conditions and low wages, resulting in labour shortages.

Pension adequacy

The 2021 Pension adequacy Report notes that, although pensions are lower than work incomes, in most Member States pensions and taxation ensure more equal income and lower poverty in old age than in working age.

On the other hand, gender inequality becomes more pronounced in old age. Women’s pensions are catching up with men’s pensions very slowly, leaves many women, especially aged above 75, at risk of poverty.

In the future, extending working lives will be crucial to maintaining pension adequacy.


The two reports were prepared by the European Commission and the Social Protection Committee. The 2021 Long-term Care Report provides an unprecedented in-depth overview of Member States’ policies, thanks to a wealth of new evidence from a number of studies and exchange of information.

The 2021 Pension Adequacy Report, the fourth edition of the report published every third year since 2012, follows the current living standards of older people as well as the impact of reforms on future pensions, allowing to observe how the income of older people in our ageing societies evolves.

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